Gruff Rhys: Pang! – Another charmer from Welsh national treasure
Super Furry Animals frontman and confirmed Welsh national treasure Gruff Rhys has penned plenty of songs in his native tongue. (His band’s list of achievements even includes Mwng, the first Welsh language album to infiltrate the UK top 20.) But his home-bred style over afrobeat and highlife music?
Enter South African producer Muzi, who makes his presence felt on Rhys’ sixth solo album, Pang!
A song like Bae Bae Bae recalls Vampire Weekend when the New Yorkers were drawing inspiration from the same sounds; Ara Deg (Ddaw’r Awen) utilises light electronic instrumentation to mimic African rhythms. Rhys, mostly performing in Welsh, slides nicely on top of the orchestration. His textured, accented voice teases out the gentle pop melodies with minimum effort.
There are some odd decisions: a lovely jazz-noir brass solo that distinguishes Niwl O Anwiredd is spoiled by the rickety percussion. But Pang!’s mishmash of styles is pleasant enough. Another charmer to add to Rhys’s blessed discography.