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Hotel Shampoo (Ovni)

CD Review: Gruff Rhys

While so many 90s indie bands now find themselves washed-up, irrelevant or reliant on nostalgia tours playing their old albums in full, it’s credit to Super Furry Animals frontman Gruff Rhys that his band, and his own career, have continued merrily along a path of innovation, experimentation and fun, never living off past glories.

Starting with last year’s excellent single ‘Shark Ridden Waters’, Hotel Shampoo is Rhys’ third solo album and finds him in high spirits, presenting a collection of 13 songs based around piano and acoustic guitars and often densely layered with all manner of instruments and electronic gizmos.

What remains consistent with Rhys’ SFA songwriting is his keen ear for a smart pop melody and refusal to deal in naff clichés or lyrical laziness. His ballads are never soppy, his pop songs never inconsequential. Indeed, with his smart writing he manages to take on eco politics, colonisation and inequality while always being bloody good fun.

How he manages to write such a consistently excellent album alongside SFA, Neon Neon, his debut film Separado! and numerous guest appearances with the likes of Danger Mouse and Gorillaz is anyone’s guess. Long may it continue.

Posted on Wednesday 2nd February 2011
TG

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