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LOVE KRAFT*

Super Furry Animals

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Super Furry Animals Love Kraft* album cover
2.80 | 10 ratings | 4 reviews | 10% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 2005

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Zoom! (6:53)
2. Atomik Lust (4:53)
3. The Horn (3:01)
4. Ohio Heat (4:07)
5. Walk You Home (4:00)
6. Lazer Beam (4:55)
7. Frequency (4:39)
8. Oi Frango (2:23)
9. Psyclone! (4:19)
10. Back on a Roll (3:46)
11. Cloudberries (5:03)
a) Humming Bird
b) Friends of Friends
c) Locust Death March
12. Cabin Fever (6:20)

Line-up / Musicians

- Gruff Rhys / vocals, guitars, claps, moog, string and wind arrangements
- Dafydd Ieuan / drums, vocals, percussion, piano, claps, string and wind arrangements
- Cian Ciaran / rhodes, piano, electronics, vocals, string and wind arrangements
- Guto Pryce / bass, sub bass, claps, string and wind arrangements
- Huw Bunford / electric guitar, vocals, claps, string and wind arrangements

Releases information

CD Sony Music 5205012

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Love KraftLove Kraft
Super Audio CD - DSD
Imports 2005
$4.38 (used)
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Beggars Banquet / XL Recordings
$47.68
$21.15 (used)


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SUPER FURRY ANIMALS Love Kraft* ratings distribution


2.80
(10 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(10%)
10%
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(40%)
40%
Good, but non-essential (30%)
30%
Collectors/fans only (20%)
20%
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)
0%

SUPER FURRY ANIMALS Love Kraft* reviews


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by ClemofNazareth
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Folk Researcher
4 stars Super Furry Animals are back with their latest studio release, the first since the eclectic 2003 Phantom Power. With Love Kraft the band moves to the left of pop with a heavily psychedelic-influenced affair, full of double-entendre lyrics and spacey musical flights of fantasy. Keeping the whole thing from going completely off-track is a complement of string and wind orchestral accompaniment. The result is a very engaging album, not quite like anything else around at the moment, although with plenty of nods to the group’s various influences.

The album kicks off with a splash (literally), followed by the sonic boom of “Zoom!”, a spacey, rambling psychedelic bucketful of sound, nonsensical lyrics, full string accompaniment, and choral backing. It’s just bombastic enough that there’s no doubt it’s a Super Furry Animals tune. There’s some acknowledgement that these guys grew up on early Pink Floyd in the arrangement, especially in the pacing that seems to be in no hurry to wind to a finish.

One other note: if the title of the album doesn’t give it away already, the cover should – one half of the ‘entendre’ in the lyrics is all about sex. This should be obvious from the three phallic symbol statues and dark railroad tunnel at the base of an earthen mound on the front cover of the album. This is also apparent in the video for the single “Lazer Beam”, which includes the scene of a neon-light cosmic cowboy with a laser beam shooting out between his legs, a long ride down a steaming tunnel, and a closing scene with a bunch of squiggly space creatures weaving through a dank space that look every bit like little cartoon sperms. It’s a bit crass I suppose, but considering the overwhelmingly engaging and positive attitude of the Furries, this is easy to excuse.

And on that note, the second track is titled “Atomik Lust”, a slower-paced number that actually hearkens back a bit to some of the 70s tracks of ELO (Discovery) and Alan Parsons (I Robot). Not as much orchestra here, mostly a sole piano, drums, and a couple of outbursts by guitarists Gruff Phys and Huw Bunford, plus some moog sound effects to give an especially spacey feel. The lyrics sound like the words of slacker lamenting on a wasted life (“let’s get our sh!t together, insane with crackbrainz. I’d love to see the ending someday, of Citizen Kane. So long, the thrill’s long gone – no more duress. No more atomik lust, whenever, more or less”).

“The Horn” is kind of a jaunty, carefree chorus with all the boys singing and a thwacking persistent beat to keep it going. Interesting song, might have been better as a closing number though (“go, go with the flow; rock, rock the freeway. Drink, smoke, love – enjoy the ride, right or wrong, hair down long”). Life is good – right?!

Well, apparently not, as “Ohio Heat” tells the tale of well, how to put it delicately – of a hippy chick getting knocked up (oops!). The tune is heavy on guitar, some acoustic, and much of it Catalan-sounding. This is a really nice little romantic song (except for the unplanned bun in the oven).

The chronological prelude to “Ohio Heat” actually follows it on the album with ‘Walk You Home”, a totally lush arrangement of strings and mellow guitar picking setting the stage for kind of a Furry’s version of Bob Seger’s “Night Moves” ala summer-fling-turned- serious-so-goodbye, if you know what I mean.

“Lazer Beam” is flat-out psychedelic funk, a white man’s Parliament/Funkadelic with heavy moog tracking and strings. A very addictive rhythm that anyone except the most staid prog traditionalist is bound to love, although in reality a tempo break or solo would have been an improvement over the refrain being repeated at least 15-20 times over the last couple minutes of the track.

“Frequency” picks up where “Ohio Heat” leaves off, bringing a baby into the world, settling down to a home stake and reality. Kind of a depressing topic I suppose, but this is absolute vintage Furrys. The orchestration compliments really well without dominating, and the bulk of the song is the combined guitar and vocal exchange of Rhys and Bunford. Rhys has one of those voices that just makes everything always seem okay. He could be singing about catching chlamydia from your girlfriend’s sister and it would seem like a love song. Absof!*kinglutely beautiful!

“Oi Frango” is a quick little instrumental, an interlude probably stuck here as filler. “Psyclone” well, I don’t have a clue what this one is about (“Count your chickens, we are taking over. Take the turbulence and twinkle your toes”). Will do boss. This has kind of a “We Will Rock You” beat with a string crescendo that seems both utterly pointless, and very well done. This is typical Furrys.

“Back on the Roll” dispels any notion that this is a thematic album. This is the obligatory song about the drudgeries of touring, living out of a suitcase, and the long road. Funny though – the band doesn’t seem to be projecting too much disappointment at the prospect of being ‘back on the roll’.

“Cloudberries” is the one song where the band seems to be actually breaking a sweat to come up with something convincingly clever. This is subtitled as a three-part work – “Hummingbird”, “Friends of Friends”, and “Locust Death March”. The first is about meeting a girl; segue to the next which is about meeting friends for coffee or something. I guess “Locust Death March” is about dropping acid or something, not sure. These guys are a bit hard to contain anyway, and apparently when the orchestra took their union break the guys just went off the deep end. Weird song.

On closing number “Cabin Fever”, Rhys leaves us all feeling pretty good with a dim piano track, but the uplifting closing lyric “The future now is wide open and clear”. This is kind of an introspective song, but mostly it serves to bring the listener down off the Furry cloud, safely and calmly prepared to reenter the fray of life. It’s a nice touch, and another of many details over the years that point to the genuine deference the Furries seem to have for their fans.

Some hardcore fans have panned this album, even on the band’s own website forums. No matter. I think this is the most consistent and well-arranged work yet from the band, and the production is nothing short of superb (which of course is what all Furrys fans have long come to expect).

If you’ve never been introduced to the Super Furry Animals, you could do much worse than to start with Love Kraft. But be warned – these guys are infectious. Buy one of their albums, and you’ll undoubtedly be back for more. Four stars and one of my three or four favorite albums of the year.

peace

Review by Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Folk
2 stars 2.5 stars really!!!

Latest disc from those crazy Welsh, with a strange artwork sleeve depicting a sombre desert "town" (more like a favella) (obviously a mining town) with weird elk-like trees, or totems if you wish. As this scene is repeated endlessly throughout the pages of the booklet, I am not sure that it has much to do with the often-sexual lyrics (they are not funny as Pye Hastings of Caravan though), but this is of course part of the habitual SFA manner of their inside jokes. I believe I spoke of impenetrable in another review of their album, but in this case, the lyrics might prove the opposite (sexually anyway) of impenetrable, IF they provided the manual to go along with it. While this album is not quite as obtuse as Mwng, it will still take the average prog listener some twenty listens (at least) to get to the bottom of the stuff, and only be frustrated by the lack of real depth of the tracks proposed. I mean, the music is well recorded, rather entertaining with plenty of funny effects, but on the whole it remains shallow (or hollow) as for the proghead to become bored before the fated twentieth listening.

As with previous album, the music slightly/gently hints at their 70's influences (Ohio Heat id CSN&Y), Horn is A Parsons-esque, Laser Beam is quite Sweetish-Sladeish, Frequency is Krevitz-laced (which is really taking the biscuit if you think about it >> Krevitzing Lenny is downright shameful), and so on.. Everone of the tracks bears its influence and not always very subtly. Clearly SFA is aiming with this album for the American market, with their numerous references Western US name-dropping ("driving Denver snow" >> taken from a Talking Head-influenced Back On A Roll with bad strings) while keeping an eye on the British market: There are Radihead moments also here and there.

Overall still not original, but what is exactly original as RnR engages its fourth decade? But what irritates me is the shallowness of their work. The ideas are not that bad, but are simply not thoroughly applied. While the music in itself is not that bad (it remains pleasant), and I might appear severe with my rating as well as with my review, I am reminding you that progheads are always supposed to like deeper than usual music. Which generally counts SFA out.

Review by ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Almost ten years of extravaganza and seven albums ranging from average to good as far as I am concerned. This "Love Kraft" being another one of these.

It starts with a very good "Zoom" which is probably one of their most refined song: languishing, obsessing, repetitive and gloomy. We are far from their basic pop rock songs (although some are hilarious) but I have to say that I kind of prefer this sort of songs. An excellent start by all means.

But "Zoom" is by far the most interesting song from this "Love Kraft" IMO. The Dylan- esque "The Horn" is all but catchy. Childish, simple and avoidable. This has always been my concern with SFA: bright ideas during some tracks and too loose or basic for most of the time (although very well polished and produced).

Production is a bit overwhelming (strings on "Walk You Home") and somehow denaturizes their original and fresh style. I know that I have compared some of their songs with some "10CC" ones, but the master won't be often matched. But it's most of the time the case while comparing the pupil with the model!

When the band is willing to sound more complex, it kind of fails and falls again under tons of elements which make the song hard to digest ("Lazer Beam"). Fortunately, here and there a song like "Frequency" warms a bit the atmosphere. Their infectious pop rock skills strikes right on target with this great rock ballad. A super melody. Another highlight (with the opening number).

The last couple of songs are driving this album into better territories as well, but I have some problems to rate "Love Kraft" as a three star album. Not sufficiently "crafted" to my ears even if "Cloudberries" is very touching. But these strings all over this album just sound too much ("Cabin Fever").

Two stars.

Latest members reviews

3 stars Mm...yes, this is a bit weaker. Some great tracks showing SFA at their best - though maybe not their absolute best (see previous two albums for that department) - and some real crap. Unfortunately they've done what a lot of bands do and made an album and starts and closes excellently but is most ... (read more)

Report this review (#130267) | Posted by cursestar | Wednesday, July 25, 2007 | Review Permanlink

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