Tuesday, May 27, 2014

American Interior - Gruff Rhys

Song: American Interior
Artist: Gruff Rhys
Album: American Interior

Welsh singer-songwriter Gruff Rhys returns with his fourth solo album American Interior after following up Neon Neon's '08 masterpiece Stainless Style with last year's Praxis Makes Perfect.  Rhys' last solo album was the rather fun Hotel Shampoo from 2011.  For this album, Rhys takes a page out of his Neon Neon playbook and selects a historical figure to base an album around.  (After John Delorean for Stainless Style, and Giangiacomo Feltrinelli for Praxis.)

American Interior follows the life of fellow Welsh John Evans, an explorer who came to America in search of a Welsh-speaking tribe, and produced an early map of the Missouri River around 1797 that was subsequently used in the Lewis and Clark expedition. The album is accompanied by a hardcover book, a film co-directed by Dylan Goch, and an app for mobile devices.  They proceed a mini-tour-meets-Powerpoint presentation that followed Evans' path in his search in which Rhys played some of the new songs accompanied by a puppet in Evans likeness that appears on the cover of the album as well as the video for the title-track. (below)

Rhys is apparently a descendant of Evans, and he paints his story with a folk-country-meets-70s keyboard and guitar-rock brush.  You might find it odd (it is) but it's hard not to find love in the catchy hooks, even when on tracks like "100 Unread Messages" he brings a little hoedown when telling Evans travel journey's, by-way of another character who repeatedly tries to email Evans, but gets no reply.  (Yes that is all happening in one song.)

Despite his love of the past and it's stories, Rhys frames it with a modern mind.  Fascinating.


American Interior
100 Unread Messages

No comments: