Super Furry Animals' ninth studio outing, Dark Days/Light Years, may be their weirdest trip yet. The hour-long album begins with what sounds like some sort of chaotic dinner party before the pulsing beat and face-melting psychedelia of "Crazy Naked Girls" takes over. "Moped Eyes" sounds a bit like an ultra-smooth '70s yacht-rocker, complete with nonsensical lyrics like, "I can see through your lies, 'cuz you've got moped eyes." The chorus of "Inaugural Trams" may rival the sheer earworm-iness of that recent Filet-o-Fish ad. Instead of a talking fish, though, this song comes with Franz Ferdinand's Nick McCarthy doing a spoken-word thing in the middle — in German. The whole package seems ripped from the early '80s.
"Cardiff in the Sun" is full of luxuriously delayed guitar and falsetto vocals, while "The Very Best of Neil Diamond" manages a consistently great acid-funk groove. "Inconvenience" is driven by growling guitars and a chorus that will certainly be shouted by audiences when the band performs it live. Two songs sung in Welsh close the album: "Lliwiau Llachar" is intoxicatingly catchy, even though you can't understand a lick of what Gruff Rhys is singing about. "Pric" is nearly 10 minutes long, in which time the Furrys travel from raga to techno to acid-drenched organ all the way to ambient noise. Dark Days/Light Years offers the kind eclecticism that most bands only dream of. We're kind of spoiled to expect so much from the Super Furry Animals. But they wouldn't have it any other way. — Jeremy Willets