Super Furry Animals – Dark Days/Light Years

Super Furry Animals - Dark Days/Light Years

Super Furry Animals - Dark Days/Light Years

The thing about Super Furry Animals is that they simply do not put out bad albums. In many ways, the Welsh rock band has cemented themselves as some of the finest set of musicians currently making music. The level of quality, at a remarkably consistent pace, that all of their releases are cared for is exceptional. And honestly, very few other bands come close to being able to rival that.

With the 2007 blissful pop of Hey Venus!, the Furries showcased crisp, clean, concise pop music that was as much catchy as it was hook-laden. Those songs featured a tight set of musicians delivering fantastic music with every single turn. While many were let down with its somewhat effortless approach, it was easily another excellent addition to the band’s immense catalog.

Now, with Dark Days/Light Years, Super Furry Animals return with a strong offering of all-over-the-place music. They’ve opened up the sounds to place their rhythm section front and center and with an adventurous take on multiple styles and a couple of full-fledged suites, this is yet another superb album on its own. With all of the aforementioned taken into account, the band has also opened up the mic to other band members and this all results in one monster of an album.

Take “Cardiff in the Sun,” drummer Dafydd Ieuan’s relentless pace is hidden below a careening guitar that roars and howls in the background. With cyclical, almost hymn-like vocals, somewhere along the way, all of the music comes together in a melting pot of mist and vapor that all elevates into the sky. This is definitely a different feel to the slashing guitar of “White Socks/Flip Flops.” Sung by Huw Bunford, the band lets loose to their inner psychedelic rock acts like Grateful Dead with fuzzy keyboards and clanking cowbell.

With the sheer mention of these two songs, it’s apparent that this is a much different sound. And although it may take a little bit more getting used to, repeated listens discover various gems. Lead single “Inaugural Trams” is a bouncy pop affair that bubbles with melodically capable music and the bridge contains a German rap performed by Franz Ferdinand’s Nick McCarthy. It’s these goofy choices that could only work under the umbrella of a Super Furry Animals album and they’re all the more impressive because of them.

Joy is tantamount on Dark Days/Light Years and it’s felt on every brilliant choice. The album’s opener, “Crazy Naked Girls,” sets the tone with laughs, greetings and a bombastic array of effervescent guitar and vivacious drums. Euphoria hits with the middle psychedelic swamp that erupts from a cascading amount of slime-filled guitar and rolling drums. Gruff Rhys and Cian Ciaran sound wonderfully thrilling on “Helium Hearts” and that animated synthesizer doesn’t hurt either; “Moped Eyes” possesses a killer funk groove that sounds as if it was stolen directly from Talking Heads.

There’s enough on here to reel anyone in, provided that you don’t make the mistake of taking the Furries tongue-in-cheek conveyance seriously. How can anyone not love the Yo La Tengo homage delight that is “Pric,” which I am pretty sure has the melody from last year’s “The Getaway Song” buried somewhere in there. It’s a shame more bands don’t put out music every two years as good as this because the music industry sure does need it. With Dark Days/Light Years, the Furries have once again proven their worth: splendid musicianship, experimentation at its most sensible meaning and those proven hooks are all on display here.

Rough Trade