by: Jon Arber
This is the second solo album in as many years from the Super Furry Animals' frontman, and it finds him treading much the same path of gently psychedelic guitar-pop. Moving away from his Welsh-language only debut, Gruff mostly keeps his lyrics in English here, covering the usual themes of love, war and, well, Candylions. The album is nothing if not eclectic, skipping from stomping, vaguely Small Faces sounding, "The Court of King Arthur" to the countrified ballad "Beacon in the Darkness". Unfortunately, the problem with Candylion is that, like much of the Super Furry Animal's output, it's a bit of a scattergun affair. When it hits the spot it's fantastic - take the title track, which sounds like the theme song to the best children's programme never made with its plinking xylophone and slightly twee lyrics. Unfortunately there's a fair few misfires here as well, such as closing track Skylon an epic 13-minute shaggy-dog tale of hijackings and lost love and that outstays its welcome by at least 10 minutes. The rambling, unfocused approach is part of Candylion's charm, but also keeps it from being more that just listenable - much of it passes by pleasantly enough, but it doesn't linger in the memory long enough to warrant a second listen.