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Gruff Rhys' Hotel Shampoo

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James McLaren James McLaren | 11:13 UK time, Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Gruff Rhys has announced the tracklisting for his forthcoming third solo album. Hotel Shampoo will be released on 14 February 2011 on Ovni (Turnstile) and will contain 13 tracks.

Hotel Shampoo cover

Hotel Shampoo cover

The songs will be:

  • Shark Ridden Waters
  • Honey All Over
  • Sensations In The Dark
  • Vitamin K
  • Take A Sentence
  • Conservation Conversation
  • Sophie Softly
  • Christopher Columbus
  • Space Dust
  • At The Heart Of Love
  • Patterns Of Power
  • If We Were Words (We Would Rhyme)
  • Rubble Rubble

Hotel Shampoo is the follow-up to 2007's Candylion. Rhys recently told BBC 6 Music that the new album was planned as a collection of piano ballads.

"There's no dominant concept I'm happy to say. It's just a straight-up album of confessional piano ballads. I thought I was getting on a bit - the time had come to get a suit and record an album of piano ballads - except it always goes wrong.

"So that was the plan, and then I went to the studio and things turned out slightly different. So you've got songs like Shark Ridden Waters, which has some piano in there, but it's not really a piano ballad - but there's still some left on the record.

"Before you knew it, I was trying to write a song inspired by Jaws 3. It's a bit tenuous, but the word shark does appear in the title, so there is some kind of link.

"It's built up out of hundreds of noises and other people's records. There's bells, and chimes and the main sample band called The Cyrkle, a late-'60s West Coast pop band."

Rhys created a physical manifestation of Hotel Shampoo at Cardiff's Chapter Arts Centre last week, using hundreds of bottles of hotel shampoo he has been hoarding since starting his touring life with Super Furry Animals in 1995.

Watch Gruff create his art installation on his YouTube channel.

He says: "A gleaming new cosmos of hotel accommodation opened up for me. In an instant I was seduced by the free product available in the rooms. I hoarded these items in a rush of mild kleptomania.

"As fatigue set in and my collection grew, I note how much waste and environmental damage was involved in producing all this fancily-packaged chemical goo. I thought about creating a lake of soap as a statement of my anguish.

"In the meantime, as my insatiable need for more shower caps, gels and shampoo snowballed, every room in my house began to amass not only these plastic bottles but also their service industry cousins: the shoe horns, miniature sewing kits and slippers, emblazoned with the logos of random establishments from every continent on earth.

"Having never kept a journal of my travels, these items became like diary entries, triggering memories of some distant city as I slipped on a discarded bottle of conditioner from a Vilnius guesthouse on the stairs, or found a used Dutch matchbook inside the CD booklet for an album by Solex.

"We discussed as an act of revenge against the colonisation of our house by these soap-filled receptacles, I should build a hotel out of shampoo bottles. The hotel would serve to catalogue my transient existence and remind me of all those buildings and random people I've met."

Gruff built the hotel in three days and slept in it on the final night of construction. During his time on the road, he claims to have amassed a total of 555 bottles of shampoo or shower gel, 28 sewing kits, 22 razors, 26 packets of shoe polish, 36 toothbrushes or paste, 121 shower caps and eight sanitary bags, 27 combs or brushes, five pairs of slippers, 13 nail files, one badge, one bottle of olive oil and two keys.


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