Hotel Shampoo is no less than the third solo album from Super Furry Animal's frontman Gruff Rhys and is named after his extensive shampoo collection taken from hotels from all around the world. Gruff was apparently planning to reflect his age with this album and intended do an album of piano ballads. This plan thankfully went off kilter. While these perfectly constructed well written pop nuggets were more than likely crafted on the piano, it's the songs eccentric arrangements that extend their charm and make them burrow their way into our hearts.
Influences are far and wide ranging. The sound of young America filters through in the Motown-esque 'Sensations In the Dark' with strong hints of The Temptations. Echoes of Badfinger can be heard in the soft, delicate Honey All Over. Album highlights are numerous and include the aforementioned tracks plus Sophie Softly, Christopher Colombus and Space Dust.
The major point that needs to be made here is that after years of prolifically making music with Super Furry Animals, Neon Neon and his own solo project - is that he can go and make an album this good and this relevant. His output has been nothing if not consistent over the years, more often than not straying into brilliance. By existing in his own world he has carved out a niche market for himself, possibly by accident as here is a man who's just so obviously in love with and absorbed in his music, the outside world probably floats right over his head. With this album Gruff Rhys has not only cemented his reputation as one of our island's best songwriters, he has also become (alongside Jarvis Cocker) a leftfield national treasure.