- Vinyl (21 July 2003)
- Number of Discs: 2
- Label: Epic
- ASIN: B0000A1LTW
- Other Editions: Audio CD | DVD | MP3 Download
- Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 280,485 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
Phantom Power [VINYL]
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A grim mood stalks like an enigmatic spirit through Phantom Power, Super Furry Animals' spellbound sixth studio album. Grappling with weighty themes like death, disease and holy war, this is clearly a product of dark times. But luckily the Furries have the sunny belief to stay the executioner's hand: musically, this is an album where brilliant light spirits away the thematic gloom, where florid semi-acoustic ballads and technicolour glam-rock stomps struggle to keep the darkness at bay. Take, for example,"Hello Sunshine", a sleepy Beatles-esque number that sees Gruff Rhys standing proud on a Freak Power ticket: "I'm a minger / You're a minger too / So come on mingers / I want to ming with you."
When Phantom Power is bleak, it's startlingly so. "Out of Control" is a Stooges-style rush of torture-chamber ambience that's as dark as any Furries song to date. But more often it's playful: the galloping glam of "Golden Retriever" finds Rhys appropriating the language of old bluesmen and twisting it into modern misshapes, while the likes of "Slow Life" have keyboardist Cian Ciaran's electronics assimilating into song structures with a skill that's previously seemed elusive. Sure, it's a jumble, but, like the Beatles' White Album, it hangs together--an album united in the face of adversity. --Louis Pattison
Top Customer Reviews
The DVD is a magical trip into world of The Super Furries, with animations by Peter Fowler, preceeding each song. The journey begins inside a giant diarama, and in order to watch each video, you play musical roulette, and end up with a random track each time, (which is a great idea, as it makes you veiw the album in a different way).
The songs are accompanied by visceral animations, pictures and videos and kinda conjure up those kinds of images you get just before you fall asleep, and make the music much more enjoyable, as the two go together so well.
There is a lot of stuff on this dvd, as there are remixes of every song on the album, commentries and hidden features (I haven't found all of them yet!)
all in all, it's weird, fun, scary and lovely.
Yet what it also offers cannot be ignored. The animations contributed by long time animator for the animals Pete Fowler help explain the song and are often funny, touching and even rather deep, fans of his "monsterism" artwork and toys, and SFA fans alike will love these cartoons. Also featured is an album length wallpaper (that moves and has occasional surprises) and some ultra hidden footage (took me a while to find). These make the deal all the more sweeter.
The one dissapointment for some may be the videos featured for the songs. Where 2001's "rings around the world" DVD offered funny, brilliant, if sometimes low budget, videos this dvd offers more of a screensaver to glare at. You get your TV turned into a lava lamp, a colour spectrum, a wall clock, a radio and many other strange things.
So if you expect great videos, don't buy this DVD. I for one love this new direction as i found the ring around the world videos distracting. Instead this time the band offer brilliant images that enhance to the feeling of the sound rather than distract your listning. A bubble rising to the rock riff of "out of control" and cells of colour joining to the techno folk of "slow life" seem strangly very relavent.
After all the dvd is all about the 5.1 surround mix and so if thats what you want, this will be a great purchase with the added bonus of brilliant "screen saver" videos. If you want music videos, watch mtv.
I now feel able to review this masterpiece after two weeks and a dozen plays right through. How do you market an LP of this nature, when it must be the hardest thing in the world to think of single to promote it. National radio can't handle anything as way out as tracks that have different endings to the their beginnings (And no, not even you Jo Whiley!!)]
Hence Golden Retreiver was obvious as is maybe Venus and Serena, as they are both instantly catchy and likeable. Go deeper and play more though and feel your mouth open in splendour at The Piccolo Snare and Hello Sunshine (but why that sample at the start??) And i'm not even gonna start about Slow Life...yet!
Let's face it, these boys are wonderful, imaginative and creative like we haven't had for a while, i'm biting my lip trying not to mention the White Album or Abbey Road, but you can't help the comparison. Sure, The Thrills, Kings Of Leon et al are solid enough, but please, I implore you, sit down and listen closely to Phantom Power and in particular, Slow Life. This is Techno, music hall, guitar stomp and back again at least twice in 7 minutes of great music. A little word for The Undeafeted too, we can't ignore this Ska tribute, but unlike most tributes, this would would settle well in any Specials lp.
I have been collecting popular music all my life (which is a mighty long time now!!) and a good few bands are in my heart. None take up as much room as The Super Furry Animals. And for that I salute them. Buy or hang your head in shame.
My favourite track's "Cityscape Skybaby", which is music that could comfortably accompany the titles of a fantasy sci-fi epic, such is its scale, and the guitar/synth solo is just perfect. Urban music by definition....in that it has a very "Urban" sound to it (Cityscape!)
On a more parochial level is "The Piccolo Snare", which sounds absolutely perfect when driving through the countryside on a grey, overcast day. The electronics at the end are just.....that word again, perfect.
"Liberty Belle" could be placed alongside "Mr. Bluesky" and "Soldier Girl" in the list of the "Happiest songs of all time". The lyrics might not be too positive, but such sunny melodies, the (ahem) perfect pop song....
They save the best 'til last though. "Slow Life" is perfect (I promise, that's the last time I'll use that word) opening music...EVERY album made by anyone should have Slow Life as the opening track....EVERY band should perform a cover as their opening song when live....of course, the SFA use it as their set opener nowadays and it rocks. Presumably it was placed at the end to leave a lasting impression, and because "Hello Sunshine" is very pretty.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Lots of top tunes & a thankful lack of self-indulgent instrumentals.Published 7 months ago by Jonathan Morris
I've long been a fan of SFA but i did go off them for a while after hearing Guerilla and rings around the world, mainly because i thought their albums were becoming too patchy. Read morePublished on 28 April 2009 by mega munch
The music on this DVD is excellent, it is exceptional SFA material. However, this DVD also advertises "animation". Read morePublished on 29 Mar. 2009 by Samuel Peers
This is a record that I seem to be able to appreciate more each time I listen to it. I still don't like it as much as "Love Kraft", but it seems that I can appreciate the... Read morePublished on 28 Aug. 2007 by Neil
Phantom Power is an album that brings in a mirad of differnt genres of music, and reinforces that the super furry animals are one of the great brittish bands of all time. Read morePublished on 12 Feb. 2007 by Whipelsmacker
This is my favourite Super Furry Animals album, right from the optimistic opener, 'Hello Sunshine' to the techno finale of 'Slow Life'. Read morePublished on 9 Jun. 2006 by Ian
OK, OK, so i made that welsh word up; give me a break- it's my prerogative! Anyway, my point is that this is one hell of an album from one of the finest bands of my small nation... Read morePublished on 8 Jun. 2004 by David Hill
I thought the Rings Around the World DVD was pretty weak, but at least it had a couple of nice videos. This however is almost entirley rubbish. Read morePublished on 12 Jan. 2004