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Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Music Review: Super Furry Animals Do The Rare Welsh Bit

Super Furry Animals: Insert Slestacks Joke Here

Super Furry Animals have been Wales top musical export since 1996 and the height of britpop. While many of their contemporaries have faded away they keep plugging along. Their latest, Hey Venus!, features more songwriting input than usual from the entire band and a return to the more varied sound of earlier albums like Radiator. 2005's Lovekraft was mostly straight-ahead woozy psychedelia so it's nice to hear them stretch their legs by pulling back the song lengths and keeping some (but not all) of the songs short and sharp. Shortest if not sharpest is opener "Gateway Song" which announces itself as a gateway song to the "harder stuff" on the rest of the album. This is followed by one of their best songs yet, the "Be My Baby" beat-napping "Run-Away" in which Gruff Rhys intones "This song is based on a true story, which would be fine if it wasn't autobiographical". "Show Your Hand" is another of their many recent Beach Boys pastiches, "Neo Consumer" bops along like Heroes - era Bowie, "Into The Night" has a satisfying crunch and "Baby Ate My Eightball" is delightfully weird with it's ping ponging "She Comes in Colors" background vocals. "Suckers" and "Battersea Oddysey" however get bogged down in some of the soundscapes that kept Lovekraft earthbound, and the wonderfully unexpected touches of electronica that used to pepper their albums are nowhere to be found. This is still a fine addition to their canon, if not an out-and-out masterpiece like Radiator.
Hey Venus! gets four out of five Venuses:

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