Hey Venus! is right up there with some of their best material. Let's hope part two is...
Damian Jones 2007
And the award for most innovative band of our time goes to.... the Super Furry Animals. OK there's no such thing but if there was, the Furries would be a good outside bet to snatch this one away from the likes of Radiohead and The Flaming Lips. You see the wacky Welsh wizards are currently on album number eight and once again they have served up a record that both baffles and inspires.
Produced by David Newfield (Broken Social Scene), Hey Venus! is part one of a two-chapter epic. Like 2003's Phantom Power, the latest instalment in Furrymania - which follows the adventures of a young woman who flees her small town for the big metropolis - fires out pop gems at every turn. Only this time they're both shorter and sweeter.
Kicking off with the band's ‘shortest song ever’ at just 43 seconds, the stomping "Gateway Song" sounds like Chas And Dave covering Status Quo. Then comes five minutes of pure pop bliss in the form of the heartfelt "Run-Away" and jangling lead-off single 'Show Your Hand'. It's a shrewd trick and one that works brilliantly elsewhere especially on stand-out track "Into The Night", a huge pop belter, served up with calypso beats, fuzzy guitars and an Indian twist.
But a Super Furries album wouldn't be complete without their usual dollop of wackiness. "Baby Ate My Eightball" is as bonkers as its title suggests as is piano driven closer "Let The Wolves Howl At The Moon". But the award for most mental track on the album unashamedly goes to psychedelic brass beast 'Battersey Odyssey'. Here guitarist Huw Bunford sounds like his head's been shoved underwater as he warbles: "Battersey Odyssey/Battersey Odyssey" while the rest of the band pull out every instrument under the sea.
You can always rely on the Furries to deliver a brilliant album and Hey Venus! is right up there with some of their best material (Radiator, Guerrilla, Phantom Power). Let's hope part two is just as bonkers.