Sadness Sets Me Free (Rough Trade)
For a record that ruminates on “the general terror of cosmic loneliness” (his words), Gruff Rhys’ latest is perversely uplifting. At its bleakest – On The Far Side Of The Dollar, with its apocalyptic visions of war and environmental collapse – the former Super Furries man reminds us that we’re all up to our necks in sewage, but Sadness Sets Me Free’s honeyed harmonies and joyous compositions are a vital lifebuoy to save us from drowning.
As They Sold My Home To Build A Skyscraper (a commentary on Cardiff Council’s planning policy, perhaps?) insistently urges, “keep on glowing in the dark”. For his part, on the LP’s stirring Spiritualized-esque final track Rhys vows to “keep singing”. Embellished by vocal contributions from This Is The Kit’s Kate Stables, the album’s finest song Cover Up The Cover Up is also its most explicitly political, beginning with the rallying cry “Reinvent the government / Let’s do it on Monday”.
words BEN WOOLHEAD