Super Furry Animals Mwng

Although they are known for their energetic, wacky approach to writing and performing, this Welsh-language album from the Super Furry Animals just doesn't live up to the precedent set by the rest of their excellent material. Mwng was supposedly recorded for about $6,000 and it shows. They've avoided goofing around with electronics and production trickery and instead have recorded an album that captures a more live-off-the-floor sound. Sometimes, on tracks like "Dacw Hi," it works. Unfortunately, there's a healthy amount of slow tracks, like "Y Gwyneb Iau" and "Nythod Cacwn," which are weak. Singer Gruff Rhys' voice sounds strained - he is clearly more used to a higher energy level of performing. That said, this is an interesting album thanks to the challenge of following the subtleties of the world's oldest dialect still in use. The band already boasts that it is the best-selling Welsh language album of all time. That claim may be true, but it's still akin to being the world's tallest midget. Mwng does make an interesting collector's piece (how many Welsh albums do you have?), and the UK packaging is also pretty spiffy. The North American release bundles it with another CD that collects the band's other Welsh tracks, some of which are outstanding. If you're feeling adventurous, go for the double Flydaddy CD - the additional material will give a better representation of what the band is capable of. (Flydaddy)