Super Furry Animals'Power' Rangers
"You have to mix it up a bit," says Super Furry Animals frontman Gruff Rhys. "We always want to try out different ways of playing our music."
This should come as no surprise from the creators of the biggest-selling Welsh-language album of all time, a band that merges techno and acoustic pop, once toured in a painted tank and was one of the first groups to release an album simultaneously on DVD and CD. But 10 years into a most unique career, the Super Furries are still searching for new paths, and their sixth album, "Phantom Power," due this week from XL Recordings/Beggars Group, finds them actively exploring the boundaries of pop.
"Phantom Power" is a streamlined distillation of the widescreen pop fantasies of 2001's "Rings Around the World." The album is studded with the disparate likes of crunchy prog-rock single "Golden Retriever," space-country epic "Sex, War, & Robots," ethereal pop ballad "City Scape Sky Baby," sunny, super-ska thumper "The Undefeated," melodically majestic closer "Slow Life" and a pair of thematic instrumentals titled "Father Father" after the guitar tuning in which they were written (DADDAD).
"There was so much new material," Rhys says of the album's genesis. "We had about 60 pieces of music to choose from. We have been threatening to make an instrumental album for years, so we could have done that." "We're not purist about genres, or sticking to one influence," says bassist Guto Pryce. "With each song, we do whatever we feel is necessary to make it work."