Now I’m afraid that this will be a slightly biased review. Super Furry Animals could release an album with the magnified sound of a cheese melting and reforming in an interesting fashion and I’d love it. If they went and recorded the sound of paint drying to plonk in their tracks I would still go googly-eyed over the result, they could EVEN record an ex-Beatle munching celery…oh, they have already.
Time to go googly-eyed then.
After the pared down blip that was Mwng SFA have rounded up the contents of their instrument arsenal and scraped together the funds for a string section. The result, at times, makes them sound as though they had parked themselves in the London Palladium to put on a full blown, all singing, all dancing, hats, canes and silly headresses musical. Shoot Doris Day has the sort of cinematic, Hollywood sound that features in any heart-strings-pulling story from Lassie Come Home to Annie to Pearl Harbor. You could actually tap dance to the album’s opener, Alternate Route to Vulcan Street and I defy anyone not to take their partner for a waltz around their living room on Presidential Suite. Gruff Rhys doesn’t sing for quite a bit of this album, he doesn’t scream, squeal or sound like a strangled cat either. He croons and warbles, with the exeption of (Drawing) Rings Around The World which is the sound of the Beach Boys and Status Quo driving in a pop mobile whilst playing with their mobile phones and the end bit of Receptable for The Receptacle which is as vocally near to Slipknot as SFA are likely to get.
Of course there is crooning and there’s crooning. The forthcoming single Juxtaposed With U (released 9th July) is more Marvin Gaye with Bond film strings than Burt Baccharach, Presidential Suite is more on the tin pan alley than Frank Sinatra and Run! Christian! Run! is more country/ folk than Fred Astaire.
However is any of you are looking for Guerrilla mark II you’ll be disapointed. The lyrics are no longer jokey and good natured, but rather bitter and fed up with the world and its contents to a certain extent. Musically SFA’s sound is fuller and more melodic. Dare I say it, it could even make it onto radio 2….which can only be a good thing for radio 2.
9Rachelle Ansell's Score