Album: Gruff Rhys <!-- none onestar twostar threestar fourstar fivestar -->

Candylion, ROUGH TRADE
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The Independent Culture

Originally intended as an album of quickly recorded, mellow acoustic songs, this solo offering from the Super Furry Animals frontman gradually expanded in ambition as Gruff Rhys became enamoured again with The Jesus and Mary Chain, sampladelic daisy-age hip-hop, and his parents' collection of old Welsh-language prog-rock and folk, the various influences seeping into his songs. The subsequent contributions of The High Llamas' string section, and Rio-based mixer Mario Caldato Jr's flute and percussion further broadened the material, adding a dashing elegance and a soft Tropicalia tone to some tracks. "Still I look for inspiration/It's my favourite combination," sings Rhys on "Candylion", explaining the blend of sweetness and ferocity in the title, over a groove studded with glockenspiel. But while the formula works well here and on "Lonesome Words" and "Cycle of Violence" - the one featuring waves of fingerpicked guitar akin to Leonard Cohen, the other a more furtive piece - it becomes laborious in the album's later stages.

DOWNLOAD THIS: 'Lonesome Words', 'Cycle Of Violence'