Brash, playful rock ’n’ roll never gets old, but the people who make it do. It’s a challenge for any band to maintain the same passion, energy, and creative spark on their sixth album they displayed on their first few — doubly so when the band’s music is built on amplifying rock’s youthful, carefree abandon. The standard move for such an act is to substitute texture and orchestration for vibrancy, and attempt to broaden the sonic palette, as Supergrass did on 2005’s Road to Rouen. A moody, mid-tempo excursion, Rouen is naturally followed with a return to basics geared more for the bar than the living room.
Despite the title, Diamond Hoo Ha is a workman-like rock album that resurrects ’70s blue-collar boogie, bringing to mind the foot-stomping chunk of Grand Funk as well as the glam-rock swagger of Mott the Hoople. While none of the 11 tracks truly falters, the album has the breezy, throwaway quality of a weekend lost to alcoholic blackout. You know you had fun, but damned if you remember it.
Blame too many similarly pulsed tempos and a reliance on riffs over cleverness in crafting the songs. So while many tracks stand well on their own, in a bunch they’re a tad nondescript. Fans won’t mind so much; they’ll latch easily onto the highlights, including the soul-soaked glam of “Rebel in You,” the catchy, Kinks-biting “Ghost of a Friend,” and “The Return of … ,” which sounds like an outtake from the Strokes’ Is This It. It’s neither a disappointment nor a triumph. It isn’t stiff, but it doesn’t bristle with “inspired live take” energy, either. It’s a fair-to-middling effort that pleases in spurts but lacks the focus and creative shimmy to hold the attention of those not already into the band.
— Chris Parker