Super Furry Animals, 'Hey Venus!' (Rough Trade/ Beggars)

7
Hey Venus!
Critical Mass
Label: Rough Trade/Beggar

by Lane Brown

Making art-rock epics is exhausting work, and if any band has earned the right to dial down the galaxy-hopping ambition, it's these Welsh oddballs. Their eighth album eschews the usual genre-splicing and orchestral sweep in favor of unfussy, hook-filled tunes that generally try to make a point in less than four minutes. And the lower-key approach pays off -- the standouts here, like the Bacharachian pop of "Show Your Hand" or the country-fried apocalypse ballad "Let the Wolves Howl at the Moon," rank with some of the most affecting songs the group has ever recorded.

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