Gruff Rhys is best known as the frontman for Welsh psych-pop legends Super Furry Animals.
A multifaceted songwriter, with an ambitious and often eccentric approach to pop music, Gruff returns to Dingle for a second time, having first joined us in the church ten years ago.
Earlier this year, Gruff released his fifth solo album Babelsberg. The album's ten tracks were initially recorded in early 2016 in a whirlwind three day session that took place before producer Ali Chant's studio was demolished. The ten tracks then hibernated for 18 months, awaiting orchestral scores by Swansea based composer Stephen McNeff and the incredible work of the 72 piece BBC National Orchestra of Wales.
A lush affair with a dark lyrical edge, it's his most beautiful and melancholy record to date. Oddly for a collection written two years ago, each song seems to pull very sharp focus on the times we live in. Tracks such as Frontier Man and Architecture Of Amnesia, address political concerns with a country lilt, while 'Selfies In The Sunset' is a witty, world-weary ballad for the digital age. Present throughout is Gruff's knack for earworm melodies. Even in dealing with weighty topics of mortality and social unrest, there's an ever-present pop sensibility to be enjoyed. In a career that's spanned three decades, two languages, multiple bands, offshoots, collaborations and one boundless imagination, Babelsberg is arguably Gruff's finest set of songs. And we're willing to have that argument when he joins us in the church of St. James in Dingle this December.