Gruff Rhys

Gruff Rhys
As Super Furry Animals put the finishing touches on what will be their seventh full-length studio album (due out later this year), front man Gruff Rhys has found some downtime to squeeze in a solo record of non-SFA compositions. The result of laying down some unintentional demos with a friend, Rhys has created a Welsh-only album that doesn’t quite sound like his band, but isn’t a radical departure. Absent is the gigantic Technicolor psych-pop sound and in its place is a batch of lo-fi, experimental folk pop gems that feel like the early stages of a SFA album. What makes this solo record even more interesting is that though it was all recorded rather quickly, some songs, like the two-part "Pwdin Ŵy” (translated as "Egg Pudding”), date as far back as a decade ago. And while there might not be anything as catchy or standout as on a SFA record, he does manage to slip a great hook-filled atmospheric song like "Ni Yw Y Byd” into the mix towards the album’s climax. Yr Atal Genhedlaeth is not meant to be a big deal and by releasing it on the band’s Welsh label Placid Casual (through Rough Trade/Sanctuary in Canada), you get the sense it’s purely for fun. Super Furries fans will have a blast with it, but Yr Atal Genhedlaeth has enough substance for this to transcend the fan base and reach another audience.