Most helpful critical review
7 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Labour of love
on 8 November 2005
Die hard SFA fans will be queuing up to award their latest effort five stars, so it seemed necessary to put forward an outsider's point of view. I am hardly new to the band, but wouldn't call myself a fan. I enjoy a few tracks on Radiator and liked their last record, Phantom Power, alot - partly because of the strength of the songwriting and also because of the political content, which gave the band an added gravitas without being hectoring or over-earnest. For me, one of the turn-offs for the band is their goofiness - in turns playful but also often tiresome, with its stoner rhetoric and sonic doodling. It always seemed more alientating than endearing. 'Love Kraft' suffers similar lyrical conceits - although it has been argued these mask a coded seriousness - set against a luxurious, widescreen sound. With production duties handed to Beastie Boys knob-twiddler Mario Caldato Jr, the record is awash with synth effects, vocal distortions, choirs, all bubbling and morphing in a sonic brew. However, it seems the Super Furries forgot to write any decent songs to accomany this aural assault, and the end result leaves me cold. The constant layering of sounds and the sudden structural shifts in tempo and melody quickly start to sound wearyingly over-produced, over-wrought and unfeeling. As if SFA have let their reputation as leftfield indie heros - a kind of Welsh Flaming Lips - go to their heads, in the process they have pushed the envelope to far, losing their pop sensibility and lightness of touch in the process. Opener Zoom!, for example, could be Pink Floyd, while 'Atomik Lust' is an overt nod to Feel Flows-era Beach Boys. But it lacks the authenticity of those bands, and feels empty for the mimickry.