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Super Furry Animal Gruff Rhys unveils his latest epic project this week, of which this album is only a part. 'American Interior' is not only an album, but also a documentary film, a book and a phone app, documenting a recent US tour-cum-history-expedition in which Rhys retraced the steps of an historical relative named John Evans (1770-1799) who travelled to America on a futile search for a rumoured tribe of Welsh-speaking Native Americans (no really!), in the process creating a map of the Missouri river which would later be used in the Lewis-Clark Expedition.
Some of the material here was recorded in Omaha whilst on his travels, with Rhys heading to Bristol to finish things off with an impressive crowd of buddies including the usual Y Niwl lads, Andy Votel, Chris Walmsley and various others. What results is an excellent collection of slinky psychedelic indie pop. The title track has a hook that'll get stuck in your head for ages, and I'm particularly liking the weird blurred funk grooves of Welsh-language track 'Allweddellau Allweddol' with its weird electronic boings, woozy vocal samples and cheeky flashes of wah guitar.
The concept is always present but never self-indulgent, and musically these are still tightly written pop songs full of nice guitar and keyboard sounds and Gruff's distinctive breathy croon, sometimes more electronic elements than I was expecting. I like this a lot actually, does this guy even know how to make a bad record?
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- American Interior by Gruff Rhys
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