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With Rings Around the World, Super Furry Animals took a stab at a streamlined, big-budget album, complete with guest stars and cameos. It was accomplished and accomplished what it set out to do -- namely, elevate the Furries' critical standing, making them a mainstay of Mojo readers and opening some doors in American magazines, who had previously ignored the brilliant Welsh quintet. Nevertheless, it was their least-interesting set of music released to date, often sounding constrained by its polished widescreen aspirations (not to mention its similarly cleaned-up, simplified political stance and lyrics), so it comes as no little relief that SFA loosens up on the sequel to Rings, the superbly titled Phantom Power.
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A grim mood stalks the Super Furry Animals' spellbound sixth studio album, but, luckily, brilliant music spirits away the thematic gloom as florid semi-acoustic ballads and technicolor glam rock keeps the darkness at bay. Take "Hello Sunshine," a sleepy Beatles-esque number in which Gruff Rhys stands proud on a Freak Power ticket: "I'm a minger / You're a minger too / So come on mingers / I want to ming with you." When Phantom Power is bleak, it's startlingly so. The Stooges-like "Out of Control" is as dark as any Furries song to date. But more often this collection is playful: Rhys appropriates the language of blues and twists it in modern angles on the galloping, glammy "Golden Retriever," while "Slow Life" finds keyboardist Cian Ciaran's demonstrating a skill for electronic assimilation that's previously proved elusive. Sure, it's a jumble, but, like the Beatles' White Album, it hangs together. --Louis Pattison
Phantom Power is the first and best (so far) Super Furry Animals CD I've bought. I heard "Slow Life" and immediately logged onto Amazon to buy the CD. Read morePublished on July 25, 2010 by Sam Caudill
I don't know why the producers of this DVD thought that watching wallpaper patterns change excruciatingly slow would be interesting. But that's the video for the entire album. Read morePublished on April 26, 2010 by DW
The more I listen to Phantom Power, the more I'm beginning to think that this is a masterpiece. I'll give it a few more listens to be certain.
Mario Caldato Jr. Read more
this isn't a band: it's an addiction. after i bought "rings around the world" and was swept up in the super melodic trippiness of this fine band, i had to see what they'd do... Read morePublished on April 28, 2008 by Julianne
The Furries scale back the orchestral overhaul of their last effort for a more simplistic and natural sound on Phantom Power. Read morePublished on July 6, 2007 by Matthew T. Medlock
I was firmly addicted to this album for about a year. These guys are incredible. I don't think the comparison to Pet Sounds is fair. Read morePublished on August 10, 2005 by L. OBrien
let me state for the record, i think the furries rock hard...and are a very awe-inspiring band in an age of mediocrity. Read morePublished on August 2, 2005 by Dj Sleeper
despite the relatively high rating, this record was one of the biggest disappointments of the year for me. Read morePublished on August 3, 2004 by Davy
Phantom Power is an incredible joyride through some truly unique musical terrain. You hear comparisons with the Beatles, Byrds, Neil Young, etc.. Read morePublished on July 7, 2004