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Chock full of shimmering off-kilter guitar pop that comes across as sweet as a vat of candyfloss but without the saccharine aftertaste.
John Walshe, 15 Jan 2007
The second solo album from Super Furry Animals frontman Gruff Rhys was recorded in between sessions for the next Furries opus, but sounds like anything other than a quick fix, and is chock full of shimmering off-kilter guitar pop that comes across as sweet as a vat of candyfloss but without the saccharine aftertaste.
Title track and lead single ‘Candylion’ is a case in point: a mid-paced, string-laden affair, the song sees our hero in so-laid-back-he’s-horizontal mode, waxing metaphysical about dreams, nightmares and all things fantastical in what sounds like a Grimm Brothers fairytale set to music. Think Sgt. Peppers-era Beatles with modern production values and you’re in the same neck of the 100 Acre Woods.
Other highlights include the sublime ‘The Court Of King Arthur’: quite what this gently stomping slice of psychedelic pop majesty has to do with the mythical king or his circular table of do-gooders is beyond me but it’s a delicious nibble nonetheless. Indeed, the winsome and windswept ‘Lonesome Words’ sounds far more medieval in its make-up. For this listener, the pick of the bunch, however, is ‘Beacon In The Darkness’, which mutates from a strummed acoustic also-ran into an uber-catchy country-tinged single-in-waiting thanks to a chorus that’s as infectious as hysteria at a girls’ under-16s hockey match.
Rhys continues the Furries’ habit of including some songs in his native Welsh, and while the titles may read like a Countdown conundrum gone horribly wrong, ‘Gyrru Gyrru Gyrru’ and ‘Ffwydriad Yn Y Ffurfafen’ continue the same chilled-out atmosphere. Then there’s the nervous energy of ‘Cycle Of Violence’, the eerie ‘Painting People Blue’ and the acoustic electronica of ‘Now That The Feeling Has Gone’ before the closing epic (14 and a half minutes) concept song about a mythical journey to Nirvana aboard the good airship Fun.
Candylion isn’t going to unduly worry the Robbie Williamses or Justin Timberlakes of this world, but its skewed pop sensibilities could win him a new set of fans and will more than tide diehard Furries fanatics over until their next album.