Thursday, September 27, 2007
Frontman for the chronically miscast Super Furry Animals brings the crowd closer for an intimate gig.
Though he certainly sings in it, Gruff Rhys only might speak English. He scrambled the brains of former IE Editor Althea Legaspi during an interview, and his musical sensibilities aren’t much more straightforward. The Welsh, like hockey goalies, are generally given a loony stereotype — in his case it fits. His melodic alchemy is a dizzying canvas of “w,” “y,” and “l” sounds assembled in lush bogs and imported by fairies.
Rhys sang his solo debut entirely in Welsh, but made it a low-key collection, free of obvious oddballisms that were instead buried in the phrasebooks. Could English be what pumps the music full of supercosmic orchestrations? Hardly. One of two Welsh-only tracks on Rhys’ sophomore solo effort, Candylion (Team Love), consists mostly of one word: “gyrru.” Repeated. Ad nauseum. Over the chord progression from “Jane Says.”
The rest is a Technicolor Dreamcoat — only vivider if you consider when Joseph’s was created there were really only a lot of Earth tones. The title track is full of pastoral, English greens; “Lonsome Words” paints in striking, Latin oranges and reds; and the broken Spanish of “Con Carino” spins the pastel swirls of a kaleidoscope, all with varying degrees of Welsh highlighting pens.
All Smiles open.
– Steve Forstneger
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