Gig review: Neon Neon, Glasgow

ECCENTRIC Welsh indie-pop contingent Super Furry Animals haven’t been a going concern for some years now, and for all the pleasantly wayward electro-folk stylings of sometime frontman Gruff Rhys’ subsequent solo career, it’s not where the joyously pioneering spirit of his old band is to be found these days.

Gruff Rhys & Boom Bip of Neon Neon. Picture: Contributed
Gruff Rhys & Boom Bip of Neon Neon. Picture: Contributed

Neon Neon

Oran Mor, Glasgow

Sign up to our daily newsletter

* * * *

Formed alongside Los Angeles producer Boom Bip, the duo united for a single 2008 concept album, Stainless Style, based loosely on the life of car tycoon John DeLorean. Where it looked like the project had run its course, the pair reunited earlier this year for the belated second record Praxis Makes Perfect, this time a tribute to left-wing Italian activist Giangiacomo Feltrinelli.

Excerpts from both albums were played, and it was little surprise that Stainless Style came last, being the more exciting and dynamic of the two. Despite a shared bedding in the authentic synth sounds of the early to mid-1980s, Praxis is often a more ambient and dream-like affair. Ever a fan of using wittily sloganeered phrases, Rhys took it a step further here by waving cue cards at the audience. “Left Fist Salute,” one instructed the compliant crowd during Ciao Fetrinelli. “Reading is Resisting”, shot back its less practicable but no less purposeful follow-up. Yet when the sense disco crunch of Neon Theme gave way to I Told Her On Alderaan’s wide-eyed soft rock, Michael Douglas’ smooth synth wallop and the deliberately de-sexed seduction of I Lust U, a duet with backing musician Cate Le Bon, a pleasing gig became something really special, a stadium epic crammed into a church basement.