He always had [it] going on in his soundtracks."
Cosmopolitan kitsch aside, Hey Venus! runs an emotional and socioeconomic gamut, albeit with a wink of the eye. On the Shangri-Las throwback "Runaway," lovers flee each other while wistfully recalling the other's "banking details." (The video is an '80s-inspired romp with Matt Berry of United Kingdom comedy series The Mighty Boosh.) There are also moments of quintessential SFA lyrical humor, as on "Baby Ate My Eightball," which offers the apologetic understatement of the decade, "See you on the other side / Sorry to cut your life so short." Equally acerbic is the track "Suckers!," which offers a straightforward litany of gripes concerning the world and its gullible inhabitants. Rhys wryly calls it a "miserable, complaint-rock song" that came to him at a dark moment on a rainy day in Cardiff: "Sometimes I sing that song tongue in cheek, and at other times I sing it and it's absolutely sincere."
Rhys sounds like he's still skating on that schizoid musical past. Yet while Hey Venus! seems to function as a musical exorcism of sorts, the frontman sees it as part of the natural order of the Super Furried Universe, with each recording a reaction to the last. He suggests that the next effort will depart from their current space age moodiness. "Maybe next time we'll bring back the electronics," he says. He pauses and laughs before adding, "And I can start writing lyrics that are less exposed!"
SUPER FURRY ANIMALS
With Holy Fuck and Here Here
Sat/9, 9 p.m., $20
Great American Music Hall
859 O'Farrell, SF