Phantom Power



Quirky-trippy Technicolor popsters Super Furry Animals will never be accused of doing anything half-assed. This is a band, recall, who once recorded an entire album (2000’s Mwing) in their native Welsh language; who once purchased an army tank in order to redecorate the weaponry in the decidedly non-militaristic lavender; and who pressed Paul McCartney into service, on 2001’s Rings Around The World, as a session player — not for some trademark Beatlesque vocal harmonies, mind you, but to munch carrots and celery in time with the music.

Nothing remotely h-a’d about the music, either. Given that past efforts have found the Furries indulging in sleek Beach Boys and Bacharach homages, one is tempted to invoke images of other “B”s this time out — Bowie and Bolan — and call Phantom Power the band’s “glam album.” And certainly tracks like glossed-up thumper “Golden Retriever” (think T. Rex’s “20th Century Boy” meets Bowie’s “Jean Genie”) and the irresistibly Mott The Hoople-ish anthem “Out Of Control” won’t dispel the impression that someone in the band secretly harbors a glitter-and-stack-heels fetish. But per SFA tradition, there’s more per capita stylistic zig-zaggery on this album than a barrel full of Flaming Lips boxed sets. PF is abundant with atmospheric folk-rock, country-tinged dream-pop, technoish psychedelia and Brian Wilsonesque orchestral interludes.

E-mail Fred Mills at

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Detroit Metro Times works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Detroit and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Detroit's true free press free.