Monday, July 23, 2007

Super Furry Animals - Hey Venus!

Here is a statement I am willing to stand by and I doubt will be proven wrong for many years to come: Super Furry Animals are overall the best Welsh band ever. Unlike the Manics, they've never told us they were better than they are, or gone rubbish. Unlike Gorky's or McLusky they've had staying power. Unlike the Stereophonics they've never been completely shit. Hey Venus! is their 8th album of original material in 14 years. Other than that they've released a hell of a lot of bsides (many of which appear on the wonderful Out-Spaced collection, which is actually my favourite of their releases overall), a remix record and various other fun items. None of which have ever been less than great.

So the new one. It's pretty short (35 minutes or so), but what it lacks in length it more than makes up for in the bands very idiosyncratic ability to blend unendingly catchy melodies with unpredictable and always interesting songwriting. The best way to describe it might be as a more poppy version of 2005's Love Kraft; it's certainly influenced by some of the same artists/genres (a bit of 60s psychedelia, a dash of 70s prog), and yet the hooks flow a lot faster in a way that reminds me of their debut. If I can be so annoying as to refer to them being a British band as well as a Welsh one, then i'd like to re-affirm an opinion that deserves to be expressed much more often; that the SFA are a national/(united) kingdomal treasure.

Super Furry Animals - Show Your Hand
Super Furry Animals - Baby Ate My Eightball


Anonymous The Waiting Room said...

Hello You & Good call.

Speaking as an English speaking, Welshman having grown up with SFA et al from all their colloquial/in obscurity Welsh language argumentatives & agitprog origins, I thoroughly agree with your analysis. SFA have, indeed, shown a dedication to not being too arsed with the convention of public expectation & simply dedicating their time spent, between tokes & strokes, to gratuitously sumptuous hooks & melodies (no matter how sprawling or off-centre cannon-loose/head-twitch post-rave — "wherever I lay my phone (that's my home) anyone?) has indeed paid off in far greater measure than the hissy-fit/foot-stamp paddys of flaccid pontificating of MSP & the one trick pony ego-train that be Stereophonics (did anyone else notice how they lost all humor whatsoever — not that they were particularly blessed beforehand, mind — with the sacking of Cable?).

I think the major difference was SFA never wanted to be a stadium/larger than a festival in Cardiff Castle sized band; while others in their home country strived for cigarette lighter pomp, SFA had wee, gentle songs that naturally & effortlessly filled cavernous arenas without any forcefulness ("Fire in My Heart").

The new album Hey Venus is crammed with such loveliness & clumsi-genius (the 2 tracks you've posted are superb examples of their oft-cited cross-over potential, should they be so inclined to push the right promo-puff buttons — knowing some of the band, it's doubtful they're even that bothered with blanket bomb success a la Catatonia).

In short? It's intellectually conceived pop sensibility strained through a healthy bedroom recording psychedlia ethic versus operatic pomp by numbers & statement/slogan driven soundbite power chordery.

Anyway, 2penneth spent. Pseuds corner, anyone?

Keep up the goodness.

That is all.

one half of Drunk Country

The Waiting Room
Every Wednesday

— music what makes you wiggle a bit —

9:54 pm, July 23, 2007  
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9:59 am, July 25, 2007  
Blogger JC said...

SFA - The men who don't give a fuck...

And yes, they are the best band to come out of Wales.

1:20 am, July 27, 2007  
Blogger stoibee said...

Loved Guerilla, Rings Around the World, the Phantoms (Power & Phorce) and Love Kraft, but Hey Venus? Afraid it just haven't registered with me as it should. That said, I went to see them at Lovebox last week and missed all but their last song as I queued in the rain outside. I'm booked in for the Roundhouse in November and despite me and Hey Venus! not getting on yet, am waiting with baited breath (whatever baited breath means)

12:24 pm, July 28, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can’t see the sound-alike comparisons to Love Kraft personally. Their influences on here are just as obvious as they were on Love Kraft if that’s what people mean. But there’s fundamental differences otherwise. It’s not thick with smouldering JC Vannier choirs like Love Kraft. Its light and refreshing like a citrus and ginger shower gel. All elements well under control. There’s a spring in Hey Venus’ step, their first definite summer record.

D’lorean Skips

10:11 am, July 31, 2007  

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