By Neon Neon
With the Super Furries' last album out of the way it presumably leaves beardy head honcho Gruff Rhys free to indulge his numerous creative impulses with other people, in this case LA Hip-Hop and Beats maestro Boom-Bip.
Together they've concocted a concept album based on the story, nay, legend of John DeLorean whose main claim to fame is creating the car used in the Back to the Future films, you know with the doors and everything. Not surprising this results in a truly heavy '80s' vibe running through the album. Opener 'Neon Theme' wouldn't be out of place soundtracking Crockett and Tubbs beating up some swarthy Miamian (being careful not to get blood on their pastel suits).
As a concept album from the decade that taste forgot, it manages not to hurt too much, interesting guests help, mainly from the cooler end of the us hip-hop scene, Spank Rock and Yo! Majesty to name a couple.
Lead single 'Raquel' booms and bips along well in an italo-disco style and super furriest of the tracks 'Steel your Girl' (see what they did there?) is catchy enough, but attempts at the more American genres such as the crunkified 'Sweat Shop' and 'Luxury Pool' sound like Beck on a particularly ironic day (meaning, like, really ironic).
'Luxury Pool' in fact features ex Pharcyde member Fat Lip, of recent Salmon Dance fame, rapping about driving expensive cars with fabulous women in them. Now however tongue in cheek this maybe it's still a fact that 95% of hip-hop is about driving expensive cars with fabulous women in them and so its message is lost well before the end... (but while we're on the subject you must check out the Spike Jones interview with Fat Lip about his 'indiscretion')
It's a fun record with its share of highpoints but it's obviously a one-off and I really can't see myself coming back to it too often. Is this man a little too busy?? With a recent solo LP warmly received and the last Super Furries album Hey! Venus generally regarded as 'good but could do better' there's no doubting Gruff's talent. Is he spreading it a little too thin?