Friday, January 25, 2008

Album Review: Super Furry Animals – Hey Venus!

I’ve been a Super Furry Animals devotee for 12 years. Over the course of those 12 years, from Fuzzy Logic to newest release Hey Venus!, this band of merry psychedelic spacemen from the wilds of Wales has never ceased to amaze, befuddle, confuse, delight, and entertain me more than just about any other band out there. I’d go as far as to say that they’re the only band who could successfully write songs about bats (“Chupacabras”), chewing gum (“Chewing Chewing Gum”), and guacamole (“Guacamole”) without sounding certifiable. Constantly evolving, SFA has created their own signature sound of confusion, so that even when you listen to albums that were released ten years apart, you still know exactly what band you’re listening to. Mysterious and spooky, it’s the Furry family.

Hey Venus! has been out for months upon months in the rest of the world (and digitally), but for various reasons was only recently released on American soil. Unlike SFA’s previous album Love Kraft, which took quite a while to grow on me, I was immediately smitten. I fell further in love with the transcendent “Run-Away,” which begins with singer Gruff Rhys’ intro, “This song is based on a true story/which would be fine/if it wasn’t autobiographical,” and also appeals to my love of a good, fluffy pop song masking lyrics which are anything but. “Neo Consumer” begins with lots of yelling Super Furries and much electrobleeping, somewhere along the lines of early SFA (think a slightly toned-down “God! Show Me Magic!”). “Into the Night” has a little sauce to the bassline, and some 70s-inspired keyboard effects to boot. In my head, the Furries perform this song against a backdrop of oriental rugs in a room heavily scented with incense and peppermints. And are those bongos I hear? “Suckers” is a blissfully barbed track, sharp as brass tacks but with instrumentation that’s warm and fuzzy with feedback. Hey Venus! is a spot-on LP, sure to make the long-standing SFA fans grin with glee and make believers out of the doubters.

Sure, they’ve grown up (a wee bit) since Fuzzy Logic hit the scene in 1995, but they’re probably younger at heart than most. I submit to you, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, that no one does far-outness like SFA, none can match their quirky prowess, and they are untouchable in the fields of spacecakery, ridiculousness, and fascinating oddities. And with that, I rest my case.

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