Album Review: Gruff Rhys – Hotel Shampoo (Turnstile)

Flaunting his rock maturity, but falling short of his creative abilities.

That bastion of 1970s rock, the concept album, is alive and well and concerning itself with international haircare products. [a]Lemmy[/a] hordes Nazi memorabilia. [a]Mark E Smith[/a] collects musicians (then fires them).

[a]Super Furry Animals[/a]’ [a]Gruff Rhys[/a], however, has a penchant for acquiring complimentary hotel shampoo while travelling, and it’s these lathery miniatures that have inspired this pragmatically titled collection.

Well, ‘inspire’ is pushing it. Wistful though these songs are, you’d give that all up for some adventure. Gruff’s skills as a songwriter married up with his gentle, accommodating tones can, at their best, elicit the fuzzy feeling one gets listening to a [a]Burt Bacharach[/a] classic, but this falls short of such lofty comparisons.

Some patience is required, as tracks like ‘Space Dust #2’, with its deft nod to [a]Kate Bush[/a]’s ‘Army Dreamers’, begin to come alive with repeat listens. Most, though, wash over you then drain away, and unlike previous product this stuff just doesn’t get stuck in your head.

Jeremy Allen


Order a copy of Gruff Rhy’s ‘Hotel Shampoo’ from Amazon