By Phil Scarisbrick
It would probably be accurate to say that Gruff Rhys has made a career out of revelling in the unconventional. Though his art is often lazily labelled under any number of over-saturated genre tags from ‘psychedelic’ to ‘space-rock’, it would be remiss to merely dismiss his music as any of these. The reason his music can be described as unconventional is because it mines deep into the catacombs of subjects that have largely remained dormant from the steely eyes of creatives previously. From delving into the life of explorer, John Evans, on American Interior to the combination of African music and his native Cymraeg on Pang!, Rhys’ work is always abundantly interesting.
New record, Seeking New Gods, is no different. Originally conceptualised as an autobiography of an East Asian active volcano called Mount Paeku, it evolved into a more expansive study of the relationship between geological permanence and the fleeting existence of people and civilisations. Our first taste of the record comes in the form of Loan Your Loneliness. Sonically and melodically, it feels like ELO, The Beach Boys and Queen have decided to dispense with the bombast and meld their respective talents for a soundtrack that is overflowing with hooks. A phased guitar line makes fleeting appearances throughout, before completely taking over the track for the sprawling outro. While the accompanying video is a series of layered monochrome images that have colours seep into frame during the concluding third of the track, the song itself is packed with vibrant colour from the outset.
Though its six minute length may feel like a bit much for a lead single on paper, it certainly doesn’t feel like it outstays its welcome.
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