Super Furry Animals Phantom Power

[Columbia; 2003]

Rating: 4.5/5

Styles: indie pop, indie rock
Others: The Flaming Lips, Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci, The Boo Radleys, Supergrass

I love it when you wake up one morning after a full week of rain and wet weather and you are greeted by the sweet and bright sunshine coming from your window. I can assure you that I had been living under wet skies for a full week now. But this morning, the sun made his presence felt early. You suddenly feel a jolt of life and that morning your head quickly jumps off your pillow to tackle the day coming ahead. And you know very well that whatever happens, you can handle it because the warmth and strength of the sun has given you all you need to go on. 

Super Furry Animals’ Phantom Power can be described as the sun shining through following a large and brooding thunderstorm. Britain and the Isles have been plagued with a musical overcast in the last few months. No matter how bright the sun was shining, the clouds had taken over and the rain had begun to drop quickly and abundantly. I won’t mention any of the artists whom have clouded the skies overseas for fear of lynching but most of you know who these particular artists are and what they bring to the credibility of pop music today (I like these bands but in today’s sobering society, a little sunshine never hurts). Super Furry Animals is not one of those gloomy and depressing bands. Furthermore, they may be one of Wales’ most precious exports.  Phantom Power is one of the most delightful records to be released this year. Now I’ve caught myself saying that often (especially this year) but I truly believe that Super Furry Animals’ sixth full-length record falls among the top for indie music. Lovely and delicate ballads like “Valet Parking”, “Golden Retriever,” and “Bleed Forever” exemplifies a tighter and more mature band. Their quirky and idiosyncratic styles have been all but forgotten and their musical approach has reached a linear plateau. Overall, their metamorphosis has spawned over the last few records, especially the overly underrated and over-budget Rings Around The World. Their musical apprenticeship has finally evolved to the pop standard that they have attempted to achieve for the last few years of their career. Gruff Rhys’ song writing is truly spectacular on Phantom Power, touching on various social and political topics but remains true to the lighter side of Super Furry Animals’ musical delivery. Raw, energetic, psychedelic and eclectic are some of the most redeeming qualities for today’s indie pop music. Phantom Power illustrates all of these and provides a truly enjoyable sound.

So pack up those umbrellas because there is sunshine in the forecast. Super Furry Animals’ Phantom Power will provide the essential sun and warmth to overcome those ominous days. And that is the true and overwhelming ‘phantom power’ throughout this entire album.

Note from Wolfman: A plea to The Tragically Hip not to get offended by the identical album title as their stellar and underrated Phantom Power that was released back in 1998 1. Hello sunshine
2. Liberty belle
3. Golden retriever
4. Sex, War & Robots
5. The Piccolo snare
6. Venus & Serena
7. Father father #1
8. Bleed forever
9. Out of control
10. Cityscape skybaby
11. Father father #2
12. Valet parking
13. The undefeated
14. Slow life