“Talent borrows, genius steals.”
The heart wants what the heart wants.
Sometimes the ears hear the things they want to hear.
The great gift that lies at the core of The Supernaturals is that they have often managed to do borrow from all of the music they have loved, cherished, obsessed over and aspired to across their career. It takes real talent to do that…it is much easier to simply pilfer wholesale and hope that nobody notices or, when they do, take the financial hit that follows the inevitable court case.
Not The Supernaturals.
They are good boys…using the library of pop for sure, but always returning things on time.
There hasn’t been any new music from the band since “360” back in 2015 and I doubt I was alone in thinking that it may also have been the last new music we heard from them.
But here we are following some truly astonishing live dates, most memorably as part of the bill at the 2018 Star Shaped Festival, with a new album that is, wait for it, everything you could want from a Supernaturals album.
This sounds just like The Supernaturals.
This doesn’t sound like everything else by The Supernaturals.
The familiarity lies in the fact that it is them…not in any awful, desperate, attempt to replicate whatever it was that had propelled them to chart success in the nineties. No, this is braver, bolder and better than that.
“Bird of Luck” has the melodies, the harmonies, the hooks, the nods and the winks, the sadness and the joy of the finest moments from their back catalogue but it is also, defiantly, fresh. The title track draws on The Kinks (to my cloth ears it is a loving tribute to the 1983 single “Come Dancing”) and long before you reach the end you will be singing along, possibly even dancing with gay abandon around your sitting room.
When James sings “Socrates ghost hides behind those door posts” on the majestically maudlin “Roberta and Xica” five tracks in it is difficult not to grin despite yourself. It’s not that the line is funny, and nor is the song, it’s the fact that this sort of clever lyric, a key component of what makes The Supernaturals so beloved, has been absent from your turntable for so long that it feels like you are welcoming home a long, lost, friend.
In amongst all the pop thrills though there remains that warmth, laconic humour, grace and wit that has marked all of their best moments…all the evidence you require is on “Summer Girl” which could well be my favourite song from them.
No, not my favourite song on this album.
I mean my favourite song from them…ever.
It’s that good.
At a time when there can appear to be more to divide than unite “Bird of Luck” is something so beautiful, so joyful and so wonderful that it could serve as a sonic balm of Gilead.
“Bird of Luck” is out now and can be ordered here.