Gruff Rhys: Hotel Shampoo
Gruff is the main man behind the Super Furry Animals, and while they are currently taking a sabbatical, he has released Hotel Shampoo, his third solo album.
The title refers to the little complimentary bottles of shampoo he accumulated from a series of hotels, before they installed those squirty dispenser things.
His collection apparently inspires him, and triggers memories of people he's met and places he's stayed. A sort of diary …. but it also mends split ends.
He has lost none of his talent for writing impressive songs, but this album has more variety than a Super Furry's album.
There are touching love songs mixed with 60s style stomps. Wailing guitar sits alongside mariachi influenced tunes.
Most of the album was recorded in Wales, but without any Welsh lyrics this time around, and then mixed in LA, with Gruff playing much of the instrumentation himself.
This is his most satisfying stab at a solo effort, but let's not let him know, as we all want more from the Super Furry Animals, with their reputation as one of the UK's finest live bands.
In the mean time he will be playing some smaller gigs to promote this, and they should be well worth checking out.