Gruff Rhys: Candylion

Gruff Rhys: Candylion


The Super Furry Animal alone again doesn't disappoint

A solo career for the singer usually means one thing: the band they front aren’t getting on. Not so for Gruff Rhys and Super Furry Animals. The group are reportedly in rude creative health, having signed a new deal, and will release an album in the spring. But seeing as it’ll be what the man himself calls a “speaker-blowing” LP, Rhys has used ‘Candylion’ as the dumping ground for a batch of acoustic-based pop he’d written while coming down from the last SFA tour.

In contrast to his 2005 Welsh-language solo debut ‘Yr Atal Genhedlaeth’, which was a bunch of promising, but half-finished song sketches, ‘Candylion’ is a much more coherent and loveable affair, and up there with some of SFA’s better moments.

Rhys, whose unfettered imagination has spawned some of the best music to come from these shores in the last 10 years, is clearly still bursting with ideas. For example, the charming but bonkers title track comes on like Beck covering Smokey Robinson’s Motown classic ‘Tracks Of My Tears’. But listen closer and you’ll notice it’s based around the story of an animal raised by bears in Micronesia, getting a diploma in desktop publishing and, err, posting a card assembly image of his former self back home.

Elsewhere, there’s haunting Celtic laments (‘Lonesome Words’), hearfelt balladry (‘Beacon In The Darkness’) and, on the hypnotic ‘Con Carino’, he even attempts to sing in Patagonian Spanish. You just don’t get that with Razorlight, do you?

So, while the Furries won’t be giving up on us just yet, Rhys’ future looks assured anyway.

Alan Woodhouse