Phantom Power

Producer (group): Beggars Group, XL

The Super Furries know their pop history, steeping themselves in Burt Bacharach trumpets, Philly soul ballads, and the fine whine of a Grand Ole Opry pedal steel. It’s a good thing, too, because the luminous orchestrations and harmonies counterbalance bleak observations about radiation poisoning, holy wars, and ”pretty pictures of starvation.” But the Welsh quintet’s concept-album ambitions are undercut by inherent goofiness, especially when the band parodies Robert Johnson (”Golden Retriever”) and Iron Maiden (”Out of Control”).

Originally posted July 18 2003 — 12:00 AM EDT

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