There seems to be an in-band decision to return to the guitars and of Fuzzy Logic and Radiator; Lovekraft's orchestration seems to be a long time in the past.
Super Furry Animals – Hey Venus
Right, this LP isn't out for a couple of months and the fact that I have to tell you about it NOW should give you an indication of just how bloody brilliant it is. There again, it's a Super Furry Animals LP, a release from a band who have never known to disappoint. Don't you just love them?
Opener The Gateway Song lasts all of 43 seconds and is to all intents and purposes a punchy repeat chorus that sets you up for Run Away, a love song replete with a stately glam descend. It sounds like Gruff & co have been getting out the odd Rubettes LP as well as their staple diet of late 60s, 20/20-era Beach Boys.
There seems to be an in-band decision to return to the guitars and of Fuzzy Logic and Radiator; Lovekraft's orchestration seems to be a long time in the past. Even when you get softer songs there's always a punchy refrain, as in Show Your Hand. It's the sort of musical trick that was prevalent in the pop in that unlamented decade. Dare I say it, SFA have decided to resurrect the odd nineties musical flourish? The Gift That Keeps Giving nods back to Lovekraft's obsession with American AOR with the soft and beautiful melody line and multi-layered harmonies.
Kicking all that into touch, Neo Consumer sounds like its straight from Radiator; it's so invigorating with that classic SFA "weird holler chorus" and (the obligatory) skewed observation on everyday matters. Highlight of the LP is Into the Night, a sweaty work out given an early seventies flavour with the sitar/easy listening-style synth lines and the Get Carter keys at the end. Again, it could be from Radiator. Baby Ate My Eightball is another supremely poppy SFA sing-along; the weird sampled vocals only adding to its loose, grubby charm.
Carbon Dating starts off like an Eno solo track (circa Taking Tiger Mountain...) before developing into a slightly oddball, but very gentle waltz with a nod to Cluster on the way. Suckers is a classic Gruff lament at the world, very reminiscent of Mountain People (except it doesn't lose its marbles at the end) but an anthem nonetheless. Following that a bit of steam is let off with Huw Bunford's (I think its Huw's), Battersea Oddyssey, a slightly glam, slightly fab four style sing-along replete with a stonking contribution from the brass section. Last up is Let the Wolves Howl at the Moon, a pithy, slightly maudlin reflection. It's another story about a lonely or misunderstood individual, something that SFA have specialised in over the years (Herman and Pauline et al).
And there you are, it's all over; 37 minutes of great pop and seemingly no hidden tracks.
So, what to say in conclusion - apart from the bleeding obvious... Hey Venus is a must-have LP; witty, punchy, not a spare ounce of fat on it. Without doubt its one of the best releases of the year, but I don't really need to tell anyone that - as if anyone listens to me anyway! Just go and buy it when it comes out.
Words: Richard Foster