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Issue #26 Spring 2009 - Bat For LashesSuper Furry Animals

Dark Days/Light Years

Rough Trade

Apr 22, 2009 Issue #26 Spring 2009 - Bat For Lashes Bookmark and Share

Super Furry Animals have been at the forefront of forward-thinking pop music for 15 years, and the band’s ninth album shows that they continue to be as committed to their craft as ever. Eschewing the classic pop format of 2007’s Hey Venus!, which was lauded by critics as a return to the group’s early form, Dark Days/Light Years instead succeeds in its mastery of boundary pushing and variegated tones, all cut, mixed, and sequenced into a musical cornucopia of juxtaposed styles and pop experimentation. The album starts with the 6 1/2-minute funky psychedelic opus “Crazy Naked Girls,” as if to herald a party that never really gets started. Immediately after comes the loping folk and swelling strings of “Mt.,” a song seemingly about overcoming obstacles that seem daunting but which, in retrospect, are quite manageable. “Moped Eyes” rides on a smooth, synthetic groove before segueing into “Inaugural Trams,” with its infectious ultra-melodic bounce. By the end of these first four songs, the template has been set, and it is one of movement and musical change. It is a winding road, but Super Furry Animals are no amateurs. In less capable hands, following a Middle Eastern-flavored, hypnotic number such as the curiously titled “The Very Best of Neil Diamond,” (the title which is sung in affected vocal) with the cool pop melody, and string textures of “Helium Hearts,” might result in too much cognitive dissonance to process. But Super Furry Animals make the coupling seem natural. And by the end of the nearly 10-minute Krautrock-sounding finale, “Pric,” the listener has been taken on a surefire musical ride. The hour-long run time has felt like mere minutes and the end is greeted by a longing for more. Perhaps Dark Days is not a typical pop statement. But it works like a charm. (www.superfurry.com)

Author rating: 8/10

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April 23rd 2009

this album is amazing!