- 09 Oct 19
Another endearing foray from Super Furry Animals frontman
Gruff Rhys has recorded one of the catchiest and most carefree albums of his career. That's quite a boast considering his work fronting the feelgood, Britpop-adjacent Super Furry Animals, and the fact he once released a record with the aggressively cuddly moniker of Candylion.
Pang! is also a Welsh-language project incorporating snatches of Zulu, and is co-produced by South African electro-jazz artist Muzi. It could have been a self-indulgent exercise, that'd make you put in the hard effort rather than the artist.
But Rhys can never be anything less than uncomplicatedly joyful. Even his darkest songs - like the early SFA classic 'If You Don't Want Me To Destroy You' - light up with mischievous wit. So it goes here: the title track is brightly-hued and ferociously winsome. And he slows to a delicious slumbering amble on 'Ara Deg' ("Slowly" in Welsh).
Politics does raise its head. Rhys was clear speaking to Hot Press in 2016 that the Welsh people had been duped ahead of the Brexit vote: hence the hard-to-comprehend majority for Leave in the referendum. "We are living in a post-truth environment," he said. "With austerity... people are frustrated".
He returns to the subject with 'Niwl o Anwiredd' - "Fog of Lies" - where he breaks down Britain's freewheeling constitutional chaos through the medium of lounge jazz. Like everything else here, it finds a way to be simultaneously throwaway and searing, familiar and brilliantly bonkers.