Gruff Rhys – Hotel Shampoo

January 01, 1970



Despite a day job that finds him helming the supremely
eccentric Super Furry Animals, Gruff Rhys shows that in his off time, he’s
equally ambitious on his own. With three solo albums under his belt, Hotel Shampoo finds Rhys offering up his
most effusive effort yet, one that liberally borrows the Furrys’ penchant for
invention and ingenuity.


Throughout each of its fifteen tracks, this Welshman never
falters, keeping the energy at a high mark throughout. Exotic intent
predominates, in the tropical haze of “Shark Ridden Waters,” the sumptuous
strings and breezy sway of “Vitamin K,” the distinctly Eastern accent of
“Follow the Sunflower Trail (Theme Tune for a National Strike),” and the merry
mariachi melody accentuating “Sensations in the Dark.” Notably then, Rhys often
leans towards extravagance and sometimes the exceedingly meticulous
arrangements actually threaten to undermine the melodies. Fortunately, the
material finds favor in its cheery Britpop and the inducement of ear candy
that’s as entertaining as it is extravagant. That offers ample reason to pay
extra attention and succumb to repeated listens in order to reap the full benefit
of his ingenuity. An accomplished genuine auteur, this emboldened artist proves
he’s capable of holding his own, even in comparison to other oddballs and mad
caps, Syd Barrett and Brian Wilson included. Suffice it to say, Hotel Shampoo deserves all the time it
takes to soak it all in.


“Shark Ridden Waters,” “Vitamin K,” “Sensations in the Dark” LEE ZIMMERMAN

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