Super Furry Animals - Dark Days /Light Years
Oh, what’s this? The best Super Furry LP since, well, the last one? I’d say so. If Hey Venus was a clear-the-air glam stomp, Dark Days /Light Years builds on the noise but gets groovy and psyched out in equal measure. And as ever, the disc retains that SFA touch of being thoroughly enjoyable, accessible pop. And of course sounding like no-one else but themselves. I’ve said it before but this lot are a treasure, a once in a generation band.
The opening track, Crazy Naked Girls must be the most bonkers thing they’ve done in a good while. What sounds like a recording of random pissed people gives way to a Clinton/Ronson-esque work-out of epic proportions. There’s a fair amount of the psychotic on here, which doesn’t half remind me of their first two LPs. Good examples are White Socks/Flip Flops which is a strange personal meditation over a track which could have been written by CSNY. It’s not the sound per se, it’s more the realisation that whatever world the Furries inhabit, it isn’t ours. And check out the Bob the Builder theme meets Hallogallo/Sehr Kosmiche/Zwei Osterei nonsense that constitutes the nine minutes named Pric. I really love these extended grooves they set up, especially when they fall completely flat on their face as this does about half way through.
Elsewhere, Nick Mac from Franz Ferdinand uses his multilingual skills to add a Teutonic flavour to the wonderful psychedelic stomp of Inaugural Trams. Truly, only SFA (or Robyn Hitchcock) can write brilliant, sing-along pop songs about municipal trams. And if you needed further proof, The Very Best of Neil Diamond shows the SFA at their cut and paste best; a great melody, a strange lyrical concept and outré effects (this time of a Middle Eastern flavour) combine to create a pop song no-one else would contemplate. For those of a more relaxed disposition, there are winsome songs a-plenty to balance things out. Helium Hearts and Inconvenience are sprightly takes on the template established by older tracks, like Juxtaposed with U. Cardiff in the Sun is a major league bliss-out too, with its crashing guitars and wide open spaces.
What’s the point of writing any more? It’s a brilliant LP, get it.
Words: Richard Foster