Wild Mercury Sound
Super Furry Animals, Effi Briest and a lengthy digression which brings us to the keyboardist from A-Ha
No more quotes from Yeats landed in the comments box today, sadly, but there is a pretty interesting discussion about Super Furry Animals over by the "Hey Venus" blog.
I thought Vince, especially, deserved a response to this question: "No one who has listened to it has mentioned if there is any of the 'strangeness' factor in it; one of my personal reasons for loving the group. Is there none?"
I haven't played the record for a couple of days, but from memory there isn't much that could be described as "strange" - a bit of a nebulous quantity, obviously, but I get his gist. In fact, maybe the lack of "strangeness" is the key reason why I find "Hey Venus" vaguely disappointing. The Super Furry Animals' knack for writing nagging, memorable pop tunes is certainly there, but they don't stretch those hooks into the more adventurous shapes that you find in their best records. I'll play it again, and see.
One thing I can fairly confidently call strange is the first single from Effi Briest. I was drawn to this one after reading something in the NME this afternoon that featured them alongside disparate Wild Mercury Sound favourites Howlin' Rain (new album due soon, excitingly) and Pissed Jeans.
Effi Briest don't sound much like either of those two, but I can just about buy the idea of them as, ahem, "flower punk". Essentially, they're a largely female bunch from Brooklyn who've managed to hybridise the prevailing strains of art/dance/post-punk and something weirder, more tribal and hippyish. Tremendously fashionable, clearly, and you could plausibly place them as a more commercially viable, linear manifestation of that Gang Gang Dance, Black Dice, maybe even Animal Collective (I'll write about their new album soon, too) scene.
It's good, anyway. One song consists entirely of palindromes (apparently: I am copying this from the press release and am too busy to check. There's a job for the weekend). Another is a great cover of "The Newlywed Song" by Jim Pepper, whose work I've only previously encountered when I became obsessed with the song "Witchi Tai To" and discovered that his version was the first version. I spent a long stupid night downloading every version of the song, starting with great ones by Harper's Bizarre and Future Pilot AKA, taking in a lusty Quebecois version and finally grinding to a halt with an ambient techno treatment by Pal Waketaar out of A-Ha.
But, God, I digress. Here's their Myspace