Gruff Rhys

Candylion

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Technically, Candylion isn't the first solo album by Super Furry Animals' frontman Gruff Rhys, but it's his first to be sung in English. More importantly, it has the form and feel of a pop album, which 2005's Yr Atal Genhedlaeth lacked. In that sense, it's a debut, but this 2007 venture also represents a slight break from SFA's recent past, too, even if it's not a radical break. Lighter and hardly as fussy as anything the Furries have done since Guerrilla, Candylion is lithe and cheerful, lacking both the proggy pomp and electronic eclecticism that rendered recent SFA albums alluring and maddening in equal measure. In their place are sunny melodies, propelled forward by flutes, gurgling synths, and acoustic guitars that never succumb to dippy folkiness. This is a breezy affair, almost drifting away in the breeze like so many needles from a dandelion, and that's the niftiest thing about it; it gives the album a cheerful, warm vibe. Ultimately, Candylion is the sound of Gruff Rhys relaxed, simply letting the music flow easily, and after hearing Super Furry Animals labor hard at crafting self-conscious masterpieces, this is a welcome reminder of the scruffy, clever charm of Rhys at his inventive peak.

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