Published Apr 10, 2018Once again, Super Furry Animals leader Gruff Rhys is breaking away for a new solo album. Titled Babelsberg, the new full-length is set to arrive June 8 via Rough Trade Records.
Babelsberg marks the fifth proper album from Rhys, officially following up 2014's American Interior, though coming in the wake of the 2016 soundtrack Set Fire to the Stars.
The new album's 10 songs were first recorded in early 2016 and at producer Ali Chant's studio before it was demolished, with back players on the record including drummer Kliph Scurlock (ex-Flaming Lips) and multi-instrumentalists Stephen Black (Sweet Baboo) and Osian Gwynedd. Most importantly, though, the record also features full orchestral accompaniment from composer Stephen McNeff and the 72-piece BBC National Orchestra of Wales.
"Gruff manages to perfectly document our troubled and troubling times with humour, grace and always addictive melody," explains a press release. "In a career that's spanned three decades, two languages, multiple bands, offshoots, collaborations and one boundless imagination, Babelsberg is arguably Gruff's finest set of songs to date. And we're willing to have that argument."
Speaking of the album's unusual title, Rhys explained this in a statement:
I'd made a note of the name after driving past a sign when I was on tour in 2014. Cut to a few years later and the studio where I recorded the album was being knocked down just a week after I finished to make way for a 'luxury' apartment development. I was looking for a name that evoked the Tower of Babel — people building towers to reach an idea of heaven (but maybe creating a kind of hell — I'm an atheist by the way!) In any case I had written Babelsberg down and when I listened to the songs together, it finally made sense why I'd done that.
For a taste of this, you can check out a new video for album track "Frontier Man" below the record's tracklist. That's the album cover up there above.
1. Frontier Man
2. The Club
3. Oh Dear!
4. Limited Edition Hearts
5. Take That Call
6. Drones in the City
7. Negative Vibes
8. Same Old Song
9. Architecture of Amnesia
10. Selfies in the Sunset