While I do miss the electronic aspect that Ciaran once brought to the band, I also remember complaining a couple of tours ago when they played a 20-minute techno track.
I thought it was a waste of time; that actual songs should have taken its place. They return to the stage after only a minute for an elongated, eight-song encore that includes an unexpected reprisal of the Power Ranger helmet -- Rhys wandering on stage to sing the sumptuous “Slow Life” through its eye.
“This is a song about gambling,” states frontman Gruff Rhys, prior to the Beach Boys power-pop of “Show Your Hand”, adding, “Thank you for gambling on us tonight.” Those of us who did take a chance are handsomely rewarded with a strong, 23-song set, encompassing six albums, a few B-Sides, and an obligatory run through “The Man Don’t Give a Fuck”.
Of the newer songs, “Carbon Dating”, written by keyboardist Cian Ciaran, is the most lovingly crafted.
Responsible for the electronic influences on the group’s earlier albums, “Carbon Dating” finds Ciaran delving into doo-wop for a textural ballad that builds on multi-tracked backing vocals and synthesized strings.
Some would argue that this is because the band peaked at the end of the ’90s (I personally find 1999’s Guerrilla to be their best album, while several friends swear by 2001’s Rings Around the World).
But even if this is true, the Super Furry Animals’ current plateau is still loftier than most bands’ high points.