Super Furry Animals - Hey Venus!

Matt Churchill 10/10/2007

Rating: 4.5/5

The 8th studio album from those Welsh wonderboys the Super Furry Animals, 'Hey Venus!' is a wonderfully engrossing and totally encapsulating experience. The band, famed for their fondness for odd noises, weird combinations of instruments and all round jiggery pokery, have created a collection of songs that are the most easy to absorb and enjoy since 1997's 'Radiator'.

Despite brilliant singles such as '(Drawing) Rings Around The World', 'Something 4 The Weekend' and the wonderfully under rated 'Golden Retriever', the band are yet to find mass acclaim. This may be about to change with their latest effort.

Opening with 'The Gateway Song', a tune about opening an album no less, it rips in with a 12 bar blues feel which after 43 seconds melds into 'Run-Way', a song with thickly laden guitars and a early 60's love song vibe that is made modern by the ingenious sounds surrounding the melody and vocals. The first single lifted from the record, 'Show Your Hand' is a soft yet hugely uplifting track that leads into the philosophical 'The Gift That Keeps Giving', which itself should be a contender for release. It's easy going flow should guarantee it play on the likes of Radio 2, where it would fit nicely. 'Neo Consumer', sounding ever so 'Rings Around The World-ish' is an upbeat pop song that again could be a contender for an individual release with its feel good save-the-day texture. 'Into The Night' is a stuttering rocker which proclaims “Char-grill the milky way” before launching into the most brilliantly catchy song on the record 'Baby Ate My Eightball'.

'Carbon Dating' opens with Chinese sounding tin tapping and a hippopotamus-like plodding temp before leading into a more regular (if that's the correct adjective) ballad-esque swung feel. 'Suckers' is a chilled number that acts as a buffer before 'Battersea Odyssey', a more quirky track that fans of the more recent SFA albums are sure to appreciate, complete with brass, duelling melodicas and echoed vocals. Closing track 'Let The Wolves Howl At The Moon' is a slow piano led ballad that allows a gentle foot tap and resolves the LP in a cool and relaxed way.

By far the poppiest record the band have produced for an age, they should reach a wider audience than they've managed to do in more recent years. A truly stunning piece of work, and their shortest at just 36 minutes, is waiting to be the best-kept secret that everybody should know of 2007.