First impressions of 'Dark Days/Light Years'

As you may remember, I thought the last Super Furry Animals album 'Hey Venus!' was pretty good, but all-too-often lapsed into what I called "pretty-but-slow" territory. So, when they announced that for this album they'd be leaving the slower songs behind, I was over the moon. So one 204MB download later, let's do this thing...

Crazy Naked Girls: Reminds me of that Beck album where he went all Prince. Midnite Vultures? But far more weird. Not a bad start at all. Mad, psychedelic, falsetto, with some crowd noise, chunky guitars. Welcome home, SFA.

Mt: They already have a show-stopping song about mountains, but this one is worthy addition to the canon. Sounds like Bunf on lead vocals - strings, simple melody. And welcome, profanity!

Moped Eyes: A little more gentle. Didn't do too much on first listen, but that's okay.

Inaugural Trams: Heard this one before, features a rap in German from one of Franz Ferdinand. Upbeat, light and very fun. "They say the future of cement is set in stone". [listen]

Inconvenience: Yes! Finally, a heads-down, no-bullshit rocker. "Tory scum / Stole my fun". Something about "holy wars". Starts and stops. Singalong chorus. SFA of old peeking through for the first time.

Cardiff in the Sun: Lots of filters over the vocals, Krautrock drums, echo chambers. Can't make out a single lyric, but the crescendos are kickin'.

The Very Best of Neil Diamond: First ten seconds - Sounds like a sitar? This is terrific! A mention of a "crystal skull". Song goes in a few different directions, but I like them chaotic.

Helium Hearts: If this was a band that cared about singles, this song would be one. Does the guy from High Llamas still do their string arrangements, because these are outstanding. I'm sure Gruff just sang "Get drunk and taste the Vegemite". Another great song: short and catchy.

White Socks/Flip Flops: Most assuredly not channeling the Velvet Underground. Bunf singing again: "I look like a loser coming from the gutter". Actually, this does sound very 70s. Chuggin'. Some nice hey-hey-heys.

Where Do You Wanna Go?: This one is okay. A little lightweight. But pleasant enough.

Lliwiau Llachar: Even though this song is in Welsh, I'm sure I picked out the phrase "Howard Devoto" in there. Maybe I'm wrong. Good song, though.

Pric: Mostly instrumental, very layered. Definitely a head-shaker. Loads of sounds on top of each other. Recalls 'Shoot Speed/Kill Light' as a great album closer. Cian brings out all his electronic toys towards the end.

All in all, it's solid, more upbeat and will almost certainly be played to death by me. Hooray!


Alissa said...

I see they went with the ugly cover art again instead of going back to my boy, Pete Fowler. Ah well. Based on your review it sounds like a keeper. Can't wait to listen!

switch hickens said...

I love the cover art.

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