Sunday, January 15, 2006

Super Furry Animals - Love Kraft

Super Furry Animals - Love Kraft (4/5)

Super Furry Animals have always had a bit of a retro feel. Ever since their first release their more atmospheric songs have always recalled a bit of the 1960's or 70's. Love Kraft seems to take that retro feeling to the extreme. Perhaps it's the mere fact that this is a more laid back album than most of their previous work, but the flower power sounding title suggests that that they are in fact consciously recalling a late 60's/early 70's feel--listening to it I'm tempted to go out and buy a black light.

The relaxed pace of the album may have led to boredom with a lesser band, but Super Furry Animals are such consumate craftsman that despite the slow moving pace they layer their songs so well you're ears are constantly alert. It's one of those albums where if you put on headphones you realize they hid a fucking rainforest in there somewhere. Despite their talent as songwriters the album still lags at parts. The beginning of "Walk You Home" could easily garner the backhanded compliment that it sounds like a Bond theme song. The only song that attempts to rock out is "Lazer Beam"--it's roller derby-tastic! I do feel strongly that the album should come with the following warning: do not take mind alterning drugs while listening to "Psyclone." Seriously, though, DON'T! I can just imagine someone dropping acid while listening to the album, and then having their head cave in at song nine. I can barely handle it's excentricities while wearing headphones. You'll know what I'm talking about if you listen to it, but I don't want to describe it for fear that some of you may be on mind altering drugs at this very moment.

Perhaps the Super Furry Animals felt that in a world of religious fanatics who march others into a war against those of different beliefs (I'm talking about America, of course) they needed to make an album that tackles all these problems with some 60's optimism. "Lazer Beam" is about escaping "imperial colonial bastards" by leaving earth in a spaceship, after all. If you think about that long enough it's not too far from the kind of thinking you'd get from a hippie, but the hippie wouldn't be joking. You just have to smile at the lyrics from "The Horn": "drink, smoke, love enjoy the ride/Right or wrong/Hair down long." I guess you can't be cynical all the time, and a little dose of retro optimism is needed now and then. My three favorite songs: "Ohio Heat," "Lazer Beam," and "Frequency."

I've avoided using the rock critic phrase that most aptly fits this album, but my will power is fading. Here it goes: while it won't win them any new fans, Love Kraft will definitely satisfy the devoted. Since I'm already one of those devoted I will probably go out and grab the aforementioned black light, and see if this thing corresponds with a famous musical. Maybe Fiddler On the Roof?

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