Skip to main content

Current obsession

I've been into SFA since college (Rings Around the World is still one of my favorite albums), but I didn't REALLY start exploring their discography more until this past month or so with Jimmy.

And they really are quite amazing. And it's really hard to describe them, which I think is a good indicator for anything creative - if you can sum it up in five words or less, then there must not be a whole lot of substance to begin with. SFA are a Welsh band, and being Welsh figures into a lot of their music - in fact, they have a lot of songs sung in Welsh. Correct me if I've got this wrong, but from what I understand, the Welsh are kind of like the underdog of Britain, compared to the superpower that is England. A lot of SFA's lyrical themes deal with resisting an oppressive power and rising up against The Man. But not in an angsty Muse sort of way - SFA's lyrics are poetical and intellectual.

Their musical style is even harder to sum up, because they are so versatile. They are the perfect blend of pop-catchiness and intelligent art. Most bands/acts can't get this right - they're either all pop and no substance (like Lady Gaga), or they're extremely arty and can sometimes be difficult to listen to, or are just too serious or too heavy all the time (and I would file Radiohead under this category). SFA is wonderfully catchy, AND they are quite arty. They incorporate bloops and bleeps like any other band, but they're wonderful musicians when it comes to their instruments. You really get the sense that they craft their songs, and I really appreciate that. You could go ahead and call them rock, but their discography has some electronica, some psychedelia, some cha cha, some funk, and even some good ol' fashioned Britpop. Like I said, you can't just sum them up with a few generic words. They really are just an amazing band.

To quote one of my favorite childhood tv shows, Reading Rainbow, "But don't take MY word for it!"

Some of my favorite SFA songs, in no particular order or ranking. Just listen; you don't have to watch. They're mostly live performances anyway, which is fine because they're an awesome live band.

And if that doesn't make SFA super and loveable enough, lead singer Gruff Rhys has some solo work of his own, and embarked on his own musical journey through Argentina looking for his "long-lost pancho-wearing, guitar-playing, Patagonian uncle," chronicled in a documentary called Separado!. Um, PLEASE watch the trailer below, and THEN tell me that he isn't the coolest man alive, because he TOTALLY IS.