SUPER FURRY ANIMALS, at the Horseshoe, June 13. Tickets: $13. Attendance: 300. Rating: NNNN
Whether it was because they'd spent a few days watching football in Toronto rather than simply blowing through town, or because most of their set was sung in their native Welsh, Super Furry Animals seemed disarmingly relaxed at the Horseshoe Tuesday.
Their ill-advised ventures into bloopy sample-based diversions now long past, the Cardiff crew were free to get back to the lurching psych pop of their early singles and to make this second round of a two-night stand sound like a greatest-hits session.
Two trumpet players in Hawaiian shirts made all the difference. With a brass chorus, the rarely played single Northern Lites came off like the summer hit it should have been, while Cian Ciaran's electronic beats were more seamlessly integrated into the hazy SFA mix rather than simply taking over entire songs.
The band even seemed thrilled to be playing older tunes like Demons and Turning Tide, but the material from the Furries' new Mwng album was most memorable.
While vocalist Gruff Rhys barked out crash courses in Welsh pronunciation before hurtling through Drygioni, the group captured the album's no-frills sound perfectly. The only self-indulgence was a bit of droning that turned sprawling album-closer Mawrth Oer Ar Y Blaned Neifon into a frantic, Spiritualizedesque epic.
A show-of-the-year contender.