Gruff Rhys, Pang!

‘Prolific’ is an epithet pinned onto too many an artist nowadays, but it’s one that is quite incontrovertibly applicable to Gruff Rhys. Last year, he released his critically acclaimed fifth solo full-length, Babelsberg; last week, he provided vocals as part of the so-called ‘Love Unlimited Synth Orchestra’ at Glastonbury, while this, he’ll link up with Dave Okumu as part of his ‘The River Knows’ ensemble at Turning Tides Festival. Rhys is something of a musical omnipresent, then, without this ever being invasive or overstated; and his suitably understated latest sustains the trend…

Pang! is the title track to the quick-fire follow-up to Babelsberg, and while it was recorded in South Wales, it was produced by Muzi – who counts the likes of Rhys’ fellow polymath Damon Albarn, Diplo, and Stormzy as acolytes – in South Africa. Admittedly, it proves rather more reminiscent of Radiohead’s Go to Sleep than it does gqom, although the sporadic blasts of brass, restless, spasmodic rhythms, and bursts of discombobulating guitar hint at a productional dexterity that is both welcomingly familiar and becomingly foreign at the exact same time.

Pang! is available from September 13th via Rough Trade Records, while Gruff Rhys plays EartH on October 23rd.