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Things improve when the trams arrive
on 21 November 2009
Looking at the reviews on Amazon of any of the Super Furries output, I'm struck by the fact that if you asked a hundred of their fans to list the nine SFA albums in order of preference, no one would list them in exactly the same order. More important, however, is the fact that the hundred fans would probably agree that there hasn't been a dud in that run of nine. Some are better than others, sure, but every single album contains moments of genius.
'Dark Days/Light Years', then. Well, it doesn't get off to a good start. 'Crazy Naked Girls' sounds like a jam that should never've been recorded, 'Mt.' is devoid of imagination and not worthy of SFA, and 'Moped Eyes' is sub-Hot Chip suburban disco nonsense. At this point during my first listen I was seriously thinking that the Furries had finally lost it.
Thankfully, starting with the fourth track, things seriously improve. 'Inaugural Trams' is a homage to Kraftwerk but the keyboards remind me of Pulp too. It's unlike anything SFA've done before and one of their best ever tracks. 'Inconvenience' is a magnificent stomp, 'Cardiff In The Sun' is a mad, rambling 8-minute epic, and 'The Very Best of Neil Diamond' has intriguing eastern (as in India and not Norwich) percussion. The album then loses its way briefly before the lovely harmonies in 'Where Do You Wanna Go?' / 'Lliwiau Llachar' and the slow build-up / Krautrock wig out / demented fade out of 'Pric'.
In short, 'Dark Days/Light Years' is brilliant in parts, occasionally awful, mostly great, and SFA are still bursting with ideas well into their second decade. Just don't ask me to rate it alongside all their other albums, you'll only disagree with me.