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Super Furry Animals - Hey Venus! CD (album) cover


Super Furry Animals


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2.75 | 10 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Back to basics

Released in 2007, "Hey Venus" finds Super Furry Animals turning their backs on any vestiges of the prog which had been appearing on previous albums, and returning to the straight pop of their début. This was their first album for Rough Trade records, but I hesitate to describe it as "full length" with such a mean running time of 36 minutes! Sixteen tracks were reportedly recorded for the album but in the end only eleven were selected for inclusion. Recording took place in the south of France in 2007. Gruff Rhys of the band describes it as "Speaker blowing", but this is to say the least an exaggeration.

Whether or not this is a concept album as such is a matter for conjecture and debate. Even the band seem unsure. There is certainly a recurring theme about a character called Venus (name checked on "Into the night") and her migration from remote village to big city. The band however variously confirm that such a concept was planned or that it was only noticed after completion of the album.

Virtually any of the tracks could have been selected as singles, but in the end the retro sounding "Run-away", the bouncy pop of "Show your hand" and the melodic light ballad "The gift that keeps giving" were the three which were selected. "Carbon dating", with lead vocal by Cian Ciaran also has the feel of a sixties ballad (except for the floating synth!) the simple melody and light instrumentation being nicely understated. Huw Bunford also gets his shot at lead vocal with a Beatlesque "Battersea Odyssey".

It seems apparent that Super Furry Animals main priority here was to deliver a marketable album to their new label, complete with potential hit singles,catchy hooks and simple but appealing melodies. To that extent, the album works well. However, "Hey Venus" is not an album for those seeking complex prog, indeed in many ways this album in the antithesis of such music. Those who enjoy the sophisticated pop side of SFA though should be well satisfied with the contents here, even if the brief length of the album does leave the listener wanting more.

Easy Livin | 3/5 |


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