Gruff Rhys, of Super Furry Animals fame, is without question one of the greatest and most eclectic contemporary songwriters. Anyone savvy enough to pay attention to his aforementioned band or one of his solo or side projects will confirm a statement as bold as this. His new and rather unexpected musical endeavour sees him teaming up with Brazilian TV repairman and musical freedom fighter, Tony Da Gatorra.
Using his self made musical instrument Da Gatorra provides the majority of the output here, with Gruff standing on the sidelines and singing on only a handful of tracks. This homemade part drum machine and part guitar instrument makes noises that are comparable to an out of tune robot. Which is fine, if you have the tunes to back it up, something that the Super Furry Animals frontman usually has in spades.
‘In A House With No Mirrors (You’ll Never Get Old)’ is the only accessible song here, with a repetitive glam guitar lick it’s the only familiar refuge that Gruff fans will get. Unfortunately, those expecting waves of Mexican tinged psychedelic funk will be left miffed. The other tracks are a mix of inane bleeping and hollering, which usually border on uncomfortable and transparent indulgence.
After an initial listen it sounds like a collection of songs that have been knocked together in an afternoon, and sure enough the entire album was recorded in just five hours; you’re left wondering if Gruff has put his name on this record just so his friend can have an album released.
Musically challenging and unorthodox, ‘The Terror Of Cosmic Loneliness’ practically transcends the word experimental. Each track has you hovering over the skip button in the hope that the next song will offer more substance, something that Gruff’s previous output could never be accused of. It is a colossal disappointment and, despite being a bold move, it will certainly alienate fans of his other work. Gruff is clearly a fan of Da Gatorra’s peace-loving protest songs, but on the basis of this, not many people will be listening.