independent

Thursday 17 April 2014

Neon flashes brilliance all over

Album Review: Neon Neon Praxis Makes Perfect (Republic of Music)

Super Furry Animals main man Gruff Rhys rarely sticks to a template and, much like Blur's Damon Albarn, his keenness to experiment has yielded some great music.

That was certainly the case when he entered a studio with the little known LA DJ and producer, Boom Bip, three years ago and emerged – as Neon Neon – with a synth-pop album based on the strange life of car innovator John DeLorean.

This follow-up is also a concept album and finds the pair focusing on another powerful figure – the maverick Italian publisher and leftwing activist Giangiacomo Feltrinelli.

To the uninitiated, Feltrinelli was the publisher of The Leopard (the best-selling novel in Italian history) and had associations with Che Guevara and Fidel Castro.

He died in mysterious circumstances in 1972.

Not only do Rhys and Boom Bip cleverly capture Feltrinelli's life story in a series of short songs, but they have delivered a quite brilliant electronic collection too.

There's Italo-disco and moody synth atmospherics as well as the sort of 1980s-inflected pop nuggets that made their last album, Stainless Style, so enthralling.

KEY TRACKS Hoops with Fidel; The Leopard

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