SUPER FURRY ANIMALS, Brixton Academy – Evening Standard, 11 May 2015

Anyone frustrated by Friday’s election result would have found a satisfactory outlet in the Super Furry Animals’ traditional set closer. The Man Don’t Give a Fuck, a song with more F-words than a Scorcese film, was a fulfilling angry howl concluding a much quieter anniversary celebration.

The band were back after six years of side projects to mark 15 years since the release of their album Mwng. It remains the biggest-selling Welsh language album ever and was once officially praised in Parliament. However, its songs are low-key and slow to reveal their wonders, and prompted the most audience chatter here.

Otherwise, there was plenty to hold the attention. As that band name suggested – potentially embarrassing in middle age and making the touts sound gratifyingly silly outside the tube – the quintet have a powerful sense of fun. Giant screen animations dazzled throughout and they seemed to have blown their entire tour budget on lights and lasers. One strange, flickering effect made singer Gruff Rhys look like an animation.

Nostalgic though they were, playing nothing from their most recent two albums, they provided great moments from across a long career rather than allowing one period to dominate. There was squelching techno on Slow Life, explosive, bounding indie rock on Do or Die and a giant psychedelic wig-out on Receptacle for the Respectable.

Songs in English proved the best route to a singalong and made a rousing party of a night which, for this left-wing band, could have been more of a wake.

 

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