Brit Pop was never really a movement, it was the Press telling us it was. It was disparate and encompassed many styles, the common factor was that it marked the return of bands and in particular, the Guitar. It also revived the live scene and people attending Gigs, particularly College gigs. It was never really about Blur v Oasis, the latter being treadmill Rock, the former raiding the XTC cupboard, particularly The Great Escape which was more Black Sea 2. Nor was it about Pulp v Suede, as interesting as Jarvis was and how ever Bowie Anderson and Ronson Butler tried to explain where The Spiders actually were now.
It was also very retro. Fawning to The Kinks, The Small Faces, The Who and of course, The Beatles. I remember writing that the main benefit of Oasis was that they were introducing The Beatles to a new generation. Paul Weller even forgot that he was Curtis Mayfield and became Steve Marriott. As with any movement, the more interesting stuff was much farther from the centre. In Brit Pop's case, it was the Guitar Pop that was most intriguing and even that scene had lesser bands getting more attention than the more worthy. For every great Pop Rock band such as Dodgy, there was the underwhelming and overrated The Bluetones.
For our generation, Brit Pop was also the last occasion that FM Radio meant something. Playlisting was much less, plus the TV Shows all wanted bands on, so both provided a much wider audience and a much wider field. These were of course, pre Internet days and so you bought magazines to read about these bands and Record Collector with its many ads provided direction on where to buy. This was also the last great period for the Record Shops and the CD prices reflected this. All this nostalgia has meant that The Supernaturals haven't been mentioned until the fourth paragraph.
The Supernaturals were (and still are) a fantastic band. Guitar Pop at its best, big choruses, great riffs, melodic solos, lyrical wit and one hell of a front man in James McColl. One of the nicest guys around and a voice that brought a Paul Heaton like pleasantness to proceedings. It Doesn't Matter Anymore was the band's debut album, released in 1997, although both Smile and Lazy Lover had been trailed as singles the year before. The quality of the 12 songs is admirable. There isn't a duff song here. Many will know Smile from the TV adverts and The Day Before Yesterday's Man, one of my favourite songs ever, marked the peak of their TV appearances.
It is hard to pick out any song as the standout, the album really is that great, but the Singles are a great place to start and four of the songs were released as such. It is also a sign of the times that all of the 19 Bonus Tracks were studio recordings. No live padding out here, as great as a live act that The Supernaturals are. Brontosaurus is a cover, a really unusual slowed down version of The Move classic, but most are originals. Two part, three track CD Singles enabled this wealth of material.
The band headed a list of splendid, not appreciated enough, bands such as Octopus, Superstar and Straw. There will be moaners about this being a Digital only release. I certainly don't subscribe to the Flat Earth like nonsense that an album isn't an album unless it has a physical release. The original album can still be bought on CD cheaply online from many of the numerous bazaars. The artist still gets paid for a download. So these people who buy one album for every 20 they listen to on Spotify should also remember that a play or a like is not a purchase in reality. It Doesn't Matter Anymore remains one of the best albums of the 90s and high up in any decade. The extra stuff just underlines how prolific and talented The Supernaturals were in that short period.