Super Furry Animals Dark Days/Light Years Review

Released 2009.  

BBC Review

It’s a fantastic set that’s all brain-filler and no buzz-killer.

Al Spicer 2009

Storming back to centre stage after two years of side projects, Super Furry Animals can be proud of Dark Days/Light Years as a masterclass in cool and seemingly effortless psychedelia. Bookended by an opening scene, apparently taped as the band members arrived at the studio for the first day of recording, and a secret hidden final bit that doesn’t kick in until well past the final notes of Pric, it’s a fantastic set that’s all brain-filler and no buzz-killer.

Although Crazy Naked Girl’ (one of many arresting titles in the collection) descends dangerously close to Spinal Tap riff-a-rama, the lads seem sincere in their search for mind-expanding music. They swerve wildly in the hunt for inspiration, veering from Sly Stone funk to the neurotic metronome of NEU!; and from CSN&Y laid-back pastoral acoustic to glam-pop electric rampage. Indeed, it’s easy to let listing the tributes paid become a musical meditation as the album ambles past.

Despite the stunning beauty of tracks including ‘Cardiff In The Sun’ and White Socks/Flip Flops, the band permit the occasional cloud to block the summer weather – Inaugural Trams evokes a sinister euro-pop disco stomp, The Very Best Of Neil Diamond commemorates those who’ve died as collateral damage, and there’s an indefinable melancholy underlying Helium Hearts.

SFA turned up for the recordings with the full set of effects pedals and used every last one. Studio wizardry and phenomena production skills allow a huge box of tricks to be opened without the magic ever overwhelming the musicianship or songwriting.

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