SFA TO PLAY SESIWN FAWR DOLGELLAU! - 25/06/2005
Friday, July 16th 2005 - the Furries will appear at the Sesiwn Fawr Dolgellau. Friday night tickets cost £16.00 (inclusive of booking fee). Weekend tickets are available up until May 31st, 2005 at a cost of £27.00 (inclusive of booking fee). The tickets are available by contacting the Sesiwn'n official ticketline: TOCYN on 0871 2301 314. Lines are open from 9am every morning until 10.00pm every evening.
LOVE KRAFT NEWS - 22/06/2005
More News on Love Kraft
'Love Kraft' might just turn out to be the definitive Super Furry Animals album. It's certainly the loveliest, and without doubt the one that feels most like a cohesive body of work. And therein lies a delicious paradox; 'Love Kraft' is the first Super Furry Animals album to feature songs written and sung by nearly all members of the group; Bunf, Daf and Cian and Gruff all contribute,
In diversifying it seems Super Furry Animals have found new focus. In calling off the search for meaning they have stumbled upon it by intuition and the power of magic alone. Of course, when a band has played together for 10 years there is bound to be secret knowledge between them, a certain shared aesthetic, but few groups can claim to hit their creative peak a decade in, especially with a full-on psychedelic soul masterpiece such as 'Love Kraft'.
'Love Kraft' is immense in scope, with more than half its 12 tracks featuring swooning string arrangements (courtesy of unofficial Furry and sometime High Llama, Sean O'Hagan), as well the odd appearance from a 100-strong mixed voice Catalan choir. Strangely though, for a record that's ended up so large, the initial "concept" was deliberately scaled back by producer Mario Caldato (Beastie Boys and the guy who mixed 'Phantom Power').
"The idea was to have everything loose in structure," says Gruff. "Normally, because we are all into production techniques, we go for a specifically stylised sound in each song. But Mario tried to get us to have not such a strong idea of how things go in your head before they go down on tape."
"We just learned the songs and played them," says Daf. "It was one of the first time's we've actually rehearsed before going in to record. [As a result] the playing is not so forced and we ended up keeping a lot of whole takes and demos"
This was in Spain, during the first phase of what the band refer to as their "decadent" album. Recorded over three weeks in the Catalonian sunshine (the first sound you hear is of Bunf diving in a swimming pool) and then mixed in a suburb of Rio De Janiero over a languid summer sojourn of good food, dubious clubs and football tricks learned on the beach, 'Love Kraft' is a step away from the more overtly angry Super Furries we may have seen in the past. But this is no sell-out.
"The world is so ridiculously dark at the moment, when you don't know where to start politically, it's sometimes easier to become inward looking or to enter the world of the imagination," says Gruff.
Often lyrically obtuse, on 'Love Kraft' Super Furry Animals songs enter stranger territory yet. Album opener 'Zoom' is a bold seven-minute undertaking, with Gruff painting a grand picture of mournful world via a surrealistic stream of consciousness set to the daunting atmosphere of a requiem mass.
'Ohio Heat' ostensibly concerns itself with the plight of Salty Marine, a Welsh emigree facing an unwanted "bun in the oven" in the 19th century Mid-West. But in typical magpie style, it takes it title from a glimpsed caller i.d. on someone else's phone, and its melancholy, nostalgic and softly psychedelic verses relating Salty's decline are marvellously contradicted by the diffuse golden glow optimism of a chorus as indelible anything to ever carry the name SFA.
"We don't expect to be understood," says Cian. "So we don't feel offended when people don't understand. People get all sorts of crazy things out of our songs that we can't understand ourselves, but we only ever approach our music as if it were for us alone, so it doesn't matter."
Back with the shared aesthetic, the sound of 'Love Kraft' frequently recalls late period Beach Boys (the recent SFA 'Under the Influence' compilation included both moments from 'Surf's Up' and Dennis Wilson's seminal and impossible to get hold-of single 'Lady'). And it is this lush and often episodic style that is at work on several songs herein.
'Frequency' starts sweet and only slightly strange, the voices opiated and buzzing, before breaking out in a Plastic Ono Band sunshine mantra section. 'Atomik Lust', according to Daf, is a song about "getting your shit together when you really can't be arsed to". It begins with the sound of "turbulence" (actually the band shaking a row of chairs in the studio), but builds into a genuinely moving meditation on loss - presumably as the plane touches down on the West Coast. Suddenly however it erupts into an utterly unheralded Mick Ronson-esque guitar freak-out complete with one-note piano. It's exhilarating in the extreme... and probably the least appropriately named song since Morrissey titled Marr's finest hour 'Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others'.
Shaking chairs and jumping in the pool wasn't all the band got up to in terms of unusual sound creation, elsewhere on 'Love Kraft' the attentive will be able to detect the sound of cicadas, the soft buzzing of an overloaded Rio electrical substation and pool balls being gently caressed.
'Walk You Home' is epic, slow and languid, and another example of how expert the band have become at blending voices and harmonising. Like a lot of 'Love Kraft' it feels like a glimpse into someone else's memory. The strings sound almost like Gershwin's 'Summertime'.
'Cloudberries' was formerly called 'Hummingbird' on account of the lovely humming throughout its achingly beautiful first couple of minutes. Then, however, it too changes to an almost samba-ish carefree sway. It is the closest the record comes to any hint of a South American sound (something the band were at pains to avoid), but soon enough it too gives way to the more heavenly strains of the massed choir.
'The Horn' mines the occasional SFA flirtation with sea shanties, entreating us to "go with the flow" over a lightly hammered Appalachian dulcimer. Elsewhere, 'Back On A Roll' is a gently rolling country-ish piano-driven paean to the pleasures to be had on the road, as it were. "Don't see the point of us going home" reasons Bunf, sweetly.
'Psyclone' is priceless; seemingly a 63-million-year-old prehistoric warning to the dinosaurs about the meteorite hurtling earthwards. "Pterodactyl, brontosaurus, tyrannosaurus gather round," entreaties Gruff over a spare pots and pans style syncopation.
Closing track, 'Cabin Fever' begins with a contemplative piano intro recorded during a studio party and featuring the ambient noise of, among other things, Daf asking "where's me fucking shoes?". Again it balances the sound of California with something new, and layers of almost Floyd-ian sadness and disappointment rise like a lark ascending to a tinkling music box outro that is only softly apocalyptic. Like much of the rest of 'Love Kraft' it carries an elegiac feel.
As you can see, 'Love Kraft' is nothing if not a sophisticated piece of work. As the seventh and ultimate (but not as in last) Super Furry Animals album, it is the sound of them growing up, with not a tank, yeti or inflatable bear in sight.
"I had a vague notion that all the songs were about relationships," says Gruff. "Love and how it goes wrong, love of the road, even love of aliens. That's kind of how we choose the songs and why it's called 'Love Kraft' - although everyone's got a different take on it and some tracks obviously veered off course.
'Love Kraft' is released through Sony BMG August 22 2005
GRUFF TO PLAY FREE SHOW IN LONDON - 13/06/2005
June 13, 2005
Folk Archive: Contemporary Popular Art from the UK
The lead singer of Welsh rock group Super Furry Animals has a parallel career as a one man folk act. Gruff Rhys will be DJ-ing from his varied folk collection and stepping out from behind the decks with his guitar.
Sun 17 Jul/1- 4pm
Free Stage, level 0