ALBUM REVIEW: Gruff Rhys – Sadness Sets Me Free  | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

Narc. Magazine Online

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Rough Trade Records

Released: 26.01.23






25 records into his kaleidoscopic career, Gruff Rhys has consolidated his reputation as one of Britain’s most imaginative songwriters and this new album finds him at his best, both lyrically and melodically.

Recorded in France and the UK, Gallic magic has clearly rubbed off, and the spectre of L’Historie D’Melody Nelson looms large in delicate string arrangements and a laconic sense of humour. They Sold My Home To Build A Skyscraper is a scathing take on the gentrification of Cardiff, with syrupy sweet arrangements allowing the bitter pill to be swallowed. Late-stage capitalism dominates Gruff’s lyrical pre-occupations, most scathingly on Cover Up The Cover Up and On The Far Side Of The Dollar; that the lyrics feel so current provide an interesting contrast to the knowingly retro musical arrangement.


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