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Hey Venus! (Expanded Edition)

Super Furry Animals

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Album Review

Sometime after Radiator, Super Furry Animals began exploring a wide sonic world, eventually drifting far out into orbit with albums like Rings Around the World and Phantom Power, albums so ambitious and so packed with celeb cameos that they brought the band attention from the respectable press. As accomplished as those albums were, they found SFA losing their divine gift of suggesting that anything could happen, the very thing that made their first four albums so divine. While they didn't get as overstuffed and lethargic as Mercury Rev or Flaming Lips did when they turned all serious — an impish sense of humor always pulsated underneath their music — Super Furry Animals did turn a bit ponderous, which made the relative levity of Love Kraft welcome even if the album was uneven, but that warm, hazy record in no way suggested the full-fledged return to pop power that is 2007's Hey Venus! By far the tightest record SFA has released since Radiator — boasting no song over five minutes and four clocking in under three — this is a concise, song-oriented record, which is somewhat ironic since it began its life as something as a concept album. The narrative was ditched during the recording as the group culled together 11 songs that hold together as an intensely colorful, insanely catchy pop album. Such a claim may suggest that this is the return of the frenzied rush of Fuzzy Logic, which isn't exactly true, because after a flurry of hooks at the outset — "Run-Away," "Show Your Hand," and even the cleverly tossed-off opener, "The Gateway Song," all hold their own with "God! Show Me Magic" and "Herman Loves Pauline" — the record settles into softer territory, trading on the lush Beach Boys, Bacharach, and ELO of their turn-of-the-century records. But if those albums were gauzy, as much about the texture as about the tune, here the focus is solely on the song, with each of the 11 tracks standing on its own yet working together to create an addictive 37-minute pop album. And just because this is disciplined in a way that Super Furry Animals haven't been in years doesn't mean they've ceased to progress — they've never had songs as lazily soulful as the closing "Let the Wolves Howl at the Moon" or "The Gift That Keeps Giving" with its electric sitars, and "Baby Ate My Eightball" threads their electronic fascinations into a lean rocker, the kinds of subtle innovations that prove that the Furries can still surprise as they enter their second decade. That reclaimed sense of unpredictability is as easy to embrace as the simple pop pleasures of Hey Venus! as a whole.

Customer Reviews

PAR

Admittedly, SFA are not for everyone and this album fleshes itself out only after several patient listens to the fan familiar with all their work. To dismiss it as "dumb" (as stated by one reviewer) is to both not give it a chance and to not know who SFA are and what their sound is all about. There are definitely true gems on this album. "Show Your Hand" emerges in its buoyancy and could easily fit in with a soft rock genuine article of the 70s. "The Gift That Keeps on Giving" stands out in its 50s prom-theme meets lush 60s-psychodelia. "Baby Ate My Eightball" hooks the listener with its thumping bass & drum loop intro and doesn't let go until it's over. "Battersea Odyssey" is a bouncy, layered affair that becomes more and complex upon each listen. "Suckers" is the one song that should be accessible to any fan of British rock. It is a great example of Gruff Rhys's stellar vocals, which I count up there among my favorites. Check out his "Candylion" solo album if you'd like to investigate further. "Hey Venus" as a whole doesn't compete with "Radiator", "Guerrilla" or "Phantom Power", but it is a must-have for the SFA enthusiast, particularly now that this enhanced version is available.

2 Legit To Quit!

I have been listening to this band for ten years now and they have never disappointed me. Love Kraft took me a little more time to get into than most of their albums but now I consider it one of their best. This was not the case with Hey Venus! It grabbed me from the first track. Absolutely amazing! If you're a new fan it may not be the best one to buy, I would recommend Rings Around The World or Phantom Power however, for long time listeners it should make you smile. Its a shame they haven't gotten more notice in the States, in fact, it saddens me greatly. But this country will never embrace anything like this in the mainstream.

Buy It

This album is really good especially for those who are not closeminded and can think and listen to music outside the realms of Justin Timberlake and Nickelback. If you are looking for a good listen then i recommend that you buy this along with their other albums. Although it is a weaker album for SFA it is still enjoyable to listen to.

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