Review of Super Furry Animals album 'Dark Days/Light Years' released through Rough Trade on 13th April 2009
The Super Furry Animals have been overrun with side projects, such as Gruff Rhys's Mercury nominated Neon Neon and the Acid Casuals, and some say these have taken their toll on the band itself. Dark Days/Light Years, SFA's ninth studio album screams otherwise and is their best offering for years.
They set the tone of the album by starting with a minute or so of studio banter and laughing before launching into Crazy Naked Girls, cranking up the thumping beats and combining them with some awesome falsetto vocals and a large dose of funk! Inaugural Trams is a real stand out track, a full on Krautrock offering complete with Nick McCarthy (Franz Ferdinand) rapping in German over the top. Another is the six minute epic Cardiff In The Sun, with is vocoder vocals, whirling guitar and motorik beats it's a truly beautiful track.
The bouncing melodic vocals and tongue in cheek lyrics of old are evident on Helium Hearts, a light uplifting track mid album. But the experimentation then continues with a nod to their homeland in Lliwiau Llachar, sung in Welsh. The album closes with Pric, bringing all the elements of the album together in what is essentially a huge instrumental outro.
And how can you not be drawn to an record that boasts song titles such as The Very Best Of Neil Diamond and White Socks/Flip Flops? In fact there is humour throughout the album; the lyrics of Mountain will bring a smile to your face. And even those songs that lyrically explore the more mundane things in life, Inconvenience for example manage to remain up beat and playful, in true SFA style. Dark Days/Light Years is an experimental, inventive album with flashes of guitar based indie, electro, funk and prog-rock; a joy from start to finish. The Super Furry Animals are back with a vengeance and Dark Days/Light Years is an absolute classic.