Their hibernation has been a long one.
Nearly eight years stands between the reconvened Super Furry Animals and Toronto fans. Mind you, it’s hardly the only city that was left to wait.
Hiatus is the proper word to describe their absence. Solo albums were produced and subsequently toured during their time apart. I’m sure a few births and martial break-ups arose, too.
Rumours persist public demand nudged their comeback. Emboldened by an uncharacteristic Euro Cup run by their native Wales is also another assumption. Chances are the Cardiff quintet just felt time was right to let people hear their quirky brand of psychedelic pop once more. Since 1996, their adventurous spirit, an evolution of The Beatles of 90’s Britpop to elder rock madcaps, defines their legacy. Consequently, they also know it’s one worth nourishing.
Fitted in radioactive test suites on-stage at The Opera House, each bandmate attends their instrument focused and stone faced. The lights are dim. Cheers are beginning to grow. Lead singer Gruff Rhys nonchalantly wears an over-sized Power Rangers head with no indication as to why. No one seems to care, either.
Outrageous props aside, the set-list begins to shape-up as the show’s defiant star. It’s an invitation, taking us on a multicoloured span of nine vivid albums, hues of psychedelia, glam rock, jazz, pop, and even the Welsh language abound.
The Beach-Boys inspired “(Drawing) Rings Around The World” guides the opening minutes with euphoric pitter-patter only to have those heart-swells fall into a moody, operatic about-face. A song like “Zoom,” which begins with a literal splash and descends into hazy vocals, wailing guitar solos and pseudo-Gregorian chants, exemplifies that. They perform it flawlessly, with plenty of retro visuals swirling on the large stage to the back.
With an evening of such varied song textures, costume choices, and pure musical chops, these Welshmen are still like no other band on the planet. Funny, their old tricks still seem new.
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Review and Photos by Myles Herod | @mylesherod