Published Dec 17, 2008From now until January 13, I'll be featuring my favourite tracks of 2008, some of which have already appeared in Click Hear throughout the year, some of which haven't.
Once upon a time I was a massive Super Furry Animals fan. Their first five albums are some of the most exciting, forward-thinking pop music of the last two decades, and the fact that they were commercially successful made them all the more lovable. But ever since 2003's Phantom Power, a good but not great album, SFA have been in this treading water mode that's resulted in goodness but not greatness. All was not well in Super Furry land.
I can say the same for front-man Gruff Rhys's two solo albums, which ventured more into folkier territory. So when it was announced that Gruff would team up with the electronic hip-hop stylings of Boom Bip (aka Bryan Hollon), I was intrigued but not completely sold. Having already collaborated on "Do's and Don'ts" from Boom Bip's 2005 disc, Blue Eyed in the Red Room, the wheels were already in motion for Neon Neon.
It took me a while to give Stainless Style a chance. I got lazy and became jaded, but I'm glad I eventually came around because this is what I think both Gruff and Bryan should be doing full-time. Combining two unlimited imaginations that appear as in sync as when the Super Furries werer at their peak, creating psychedelic landmarks Radiator and Rings Around the World, and featuring guests like Spank Rock, the Strokes' Fab Moretti, Yo! Majesty and Fatlip, among others, the album deservedly earned a Mercury Prize nod and really was one of the more overlooked efforts of 2008. I mean, c'mon, it's a zany concept album about the life of John De Lorean, the man who created what Time called one of the 50 worst cars of all time, De Lorean DMC-12 - or as we know it, the supercool car that Marty McFly drove in Back To the Future. Now that's a concept.
One of the reasons for this album's triumph was this sleek and seductive single that featured up-and-coming Welsh songstress Cate LeBon duetting with Gruff. A brooding and groovy bit of vintage electro, it's definitely the sexiest thing the Super Furry man has ever done, perhaps because it was written about "a dark period in DeLorean's life when he was having lots of affairs." But of course!