The velvety, lounge-pop ying to Trent Reznor’s dark, industrial yang, Gruff Rhys here makes a subtle and successful deviation into the world of soundtrack composition. The score for the critically panned 2014 film Set Fire to the Stars, a drama about poet Dylan Thomas’s first week in the US in 1950, which starred Elijah Wood – was created around the same time as Rhys’s concept album American Interior. It possesses the same patterning lightness, soft romance and jazz-inspired style, from the elegance and hushed intimacy of its title track to the Field Music-like acoustic quirks of Log Cabin. Mirroring the black-and-white sophistication of the era the film was set in, Rhys only uses instruments available in that period, to create a mostly instrumental record that reminds the listener that beyond his role as the Super Furry indie kook icon, there is a truly maverick – albeit always understated – composer at work.
Harriet Gibsone is a freelance journalist