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Love Kraft

Super Furry Animals

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Album Review

As Super Furry Animals settle into their second decade of recording and with it their status as veteran rockers, they're inevitably less surprising than they were at the outset of their career, when their music not only had an exhilarating rush, but there was a sense of impish glee, the sense that they were getting away with something that they shouldn't. That naturally has declined with the passage of time, yet with their seventh album, 2005's Love Kraft, SFA show signs of settling comfortably into their status as alt-rock veterans. Compared to the top-heavy, ponderous Rings Around the World and the trippy pop of Phantom Power, Love Kraft sounds warm and relaxed, lush and dreamy, with a strong, distinct sweet undercurrent to the music. Since Phantom producer Mario Caldato, Jr. has been brought back, it's not a great surprise that the album has a similar hazy vibe, but where that album seemed to drift away a little too often, Love Kraft floats in the air — perhaps it doesn't explore as much territory, but it canvasses its ground particularly well, creating a smooth, almost soulful spin on their signature prog-psych-pop sound. For the first time, each member of the group contributes a lead vocal, but it's a testament to the band's overriding vision that the album never sounds anything less than cohesive. If some of the songs seem to announce themselves in a grander fashion than others — "Zoom!" is an epic space-age opener, "Ohio Heat" has a wonderful spacy shimmer, and "Lazer Beam," the closest this record comes to an outright rocker, is as addictive as "Golden Retriever," as if Bacharach did psychedelic music — the songs that recede into the background are all strong and help tie the album together into an ideal late-night record, in all meanings of the term. Perhaps it's a little disappointing on some level that Love Kraft is merely a very good Super Furry Animals effort, with few surprises outside of its alluring sleekness, but this is another excellent album from a band that may no longer shock and surprise, yet always provides a rich, rewarding experience each time it releases a record.

Customer Reviews

Softly Psychedelic,

For some reason, some SFA fans have been dissing this latest release, perhaps because the raucous volume and in-your-face, electro-tinged psychedelic rock/pop has been turned down a bit--in fact, the album as a whole is decidedly mellow. But I'm here to tell you, this is one of their best releases (and I'm a long-time fan). The single "Lazer Beam" fully encompasses everything you need to know about SFA in one song--pop melodies, wacky sci-fi fantasy, Welsh folkiness, electronica flourishes, 70s guitar riffs. And their highly crafted sonic production and buckets of pop hooks remain intact throughout. It might take a listen or two, but it'll catch you soon enough.

SFA Today

"Love Kraft" threw me for a loop. I honestly didn't like how it was shaping up during my first listen, and I kept waiting for the little hook hit, (a "Do or Die", etc.) to bring me in. However, "Love Kraft" is a bit more smooth and even secretive sounding, ebbing and flowing rather than giving you the exciting jolt of a ready made SFA hit. On the other hand, it is, at times, more musically surprising than past albums. It took a few listens and then, as has happened to me with all SFA albums, I fell in love. "Cabin Fever" has gorgeous harmonies and even sounds a bit "Abbey Road"-esque to me, and "Cloud Berries" and "Frequency" are vibrant, building, and even rather epic sounding... Have a listen and be patient...it took awhile for the album to 'open up' for me, but when it does...

An Amazingly Pleasant Surprise

As a first time listener of SFA, I was blown away. Lush arrangements, strange and wonderful lyrics (similar in whimsy at times to Frank Black), and fantastic melodies. What more could a music fan want? To all long time fans, why didn't you tell me about these guys? To those I read about not liking this as much as their older stuff, I say "huh"? I have no regrets having this album as my intro to the band. Quite frankly, I like when bands slow down a little bit and explore. Their apparently slower and more exploratory vibe on this album is what hooked me with SFA in the first place. I also love the new Supergrass "Road to Rouen" as well as their older stuff. If you are like me and just stumbling on this album by blind luck, buy it! I did and I'm not sorry. I am now backtracking through their older catalogue. It's fun to find a band five or six albums in and follow them in reverse.

Biography

Formed: 1993 in Cardiff, South Glamorgan, Wales

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Super Furry Animals were one of the first post-alternative bands, fusing together a number of disparate musical genres — including power pop, punk rock, techno, and progressive rock — creating a shimmering, melodic, irreverent, and willfully artsy rock & roll. As one of the leading bands of the mid-'90s Welsh movement, they were already tagged as outsiders by their tendency to sing entire songs in their native tongue, but their very approach was unique, full of both whimsy and left-wing...
Full Bio

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