20.03.2009, Words by dummymag

Dark Days/Light Years

1) After 2007’s Hey Venus, Super Furry Animals catherine-wheeled off into various side projects with varying degrees of success. Frontman Gruff Rhys earned a Mercury nomination for his electro pop fantasy Neon Neon. The Peth, drummer Dafydd Ieuan’s lad rock collaboration with actor Rhys Ifans, didn’t fare so well. Either way, the change has done them good. They re-engage with their singular take psychedelic rock with renewed gusto here.

2) Super Furries are frequently at their best when they’re at their wackiest. There’s none of the sensible shoes rock riffing that hampered 2004’s Phantom Force here. Instead you have Inaugural Trams, a bonkers romp of oompah rhythm section, whirligig melodies and a nonsense spoken word section in German from Franz Ferdinand guitarist Nick McCarthy. Superb.

3) An African influence is all the rage at the moment. The Super Furries do it wonderfully well on The Very Best Of Neil Diamond. “The very best of Neil Diamond / Sings as the poems rain down from the crystal sky,” rambles Rhys over a mirage of synths, Moroccan beats and narcotic guitar drones. Drugs may have been involved.

4) Apparently, in an bid to sell more copies, they were going to call the album The Very Best Of Neil Diamond too. Sadly, they didn’t, for fear of legal action.

5) During the making of the record, Ieuan developed a loathing of pedal steel guitar. It joins the saxophone on the list of instruments banned from all future Super Furry Animals records.

6) The album ends with Prijk, a six-minutes of pulsing punk funk bass, sitar-like guitars and bubbling synth squelches, with another three-minute coda of echoing sound effects for good measure. Think LCD Soundsystem doing Revolver.

7) A hugely entertaining record, then. Dark Days/Light Years is out now as a download from the band’s website. The physical release follows on April 13.

8) It scores an (8).

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