Rhys Is The WordApril 28, 2015
It’s the mid 90s all over again! Chris Evans is back on the telly soon with a one-off TFI Friday. Blur have a new LP out – a bit of a grower, I’ve found, equal parts skewed pop noise and languid, lethargic Damon downers. More excitingly than any of that though is that next week there’ll be Super Furry fever the length and breadth of the country. Or in my house at least, and possibly yours too. Super Furry Animals are back together after 6 long years lost in a wilderness of solo projects, side projects, family issues and a generally lazy, can’t-be-arsed attitude to their group’s music to go out on a tour around the Academies and O2s of the land.
Most bands reform (have the Super Furries ‘reformed’? Who really knows?) and play the various enormodomes and arenas with a set comprising all the big hits and fan favourites. These bands, ever thoughtful to their fans’ requirements, even stick in a couple of new tracks to allow folk to disappear to the bar or the toilet or wherever. Not the Super Furry Animals. The tour is on the back of the reissue of their Mwng LP, an album sung entirely in their mother tongue, an album that somehow made its way to the dizzy heights of Number 11 on yer actual charts. Given the stellar quality of the rest of the band’s back catalogue, this is just about as un-comeback like as possible. Think of a Bizarro-era Wedding Present who reform to play a set of Ukrainians material and you’re half way there.
Due to can’t-get-out-of work commitments I’m going to miss the Glasgow show (just about the only one not yet advertised with a Sold Out! sign), which I’m doubly miffed at now that The Magic Numbers have been added as the support act. Two great bands at what will be one (very) smokin’ gig, in every sense of the word.
As much as Mwng is unintelligible to the average listener outside of native-speaking Wales, (“Don’t sing your songs in Welsh,” instructed Creation boss Alan McGee. “Sing them in English.” “We do,” replied a puzzled Gruff Rhys) it’s still a terrific record – noisy and thrashing one minute, warped and wobbly and lightly dusted in a fuzzy haze the next (often within the first 2 minutes of the same song) and will no-doubt sound out of this world when it makes its way into the live arena. You have to presume that the shows will be two-parters, with the album being the yin to a greatest hits-type yang, but in the world of the SFA who really knows? All I do know is that I’m irked that I can’t go.
On the Mwng LP you’ll find this, Y Teimlad, a slow burning beauty of a track that combines lovely descending guitar figures with Beach Boys harmonies and the odd lightly toasted guitar riff – Super Furry Animals in miniature, if you will.
Super Furry Animals – Y Teimlad
Y Teimlad is a cover of a track by obscure Welsh experimentalists Datblygu. Datblygu were self-sufficient, releasing album after album on cassette only, singing their heavy, pastoral psychedlia in Welsh and receiving the bare minimum of airplay (although this included 5 Peel Sessions) before crashing to a halt in the early 90s. They were clearly a big influence on the next wave of Welsh bands, particularly the Super Furries and Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci. But you knew that already.
Datblygu – Y Teimlad
If you’re off to one of those Super Super Furry shows, make sure you enjoy it for me.