A man with a Jeff Lynne hairstyle, amid a stage set that is part giant tv screen and part aircraft, playing trippy, repetitive and lengthy songs may understandably strike a note of caution with anyone old enough to remember the seventies.
Yet, while ‘Candylion’ is an aviation themed concept album, this funny and self-depreciating performance could not be further from the pompous prog rockers of that era.
Indeed, as a solo act, Rhys seems to have been able to harness the wild ambition of his band, Super Furry Animals, into something that is simultaneously warmer, stranger and more intimate.
With Lisa Jen from Welsh folk outfit, 9 Bach, as a visual and vocal foil, a Pete Fowler designed stage set, and a range of toy instruments, it is as far removed from any traditional notions of an acoustic-based performance as it is possible to get, but the songs are mostly simple and beautiful.
‘Candylion’, ‘Cycle of Violence’ and the 15 minute finale, ‘Skylon’ are a splendid mix of oddball Welsh folk, dance beats and eighties’ guitar bands. The outcome is the sound of Rhys’ over-fertile imagination running wild, and, to continue the aviation theme, some melodies that would not have been out of place on a Wings’ album.