Reviews

Gruff Rhys
Babelsberg

(Rough Trade)

8/10

Gruff Rhys is almost excessively capable, largely because he never handles things with too heavy a hand. And so the kitchen sink drama of ‘Babelsberg’ – his first record for Rough Trade since 2005’s ‘Candylion’ – is naturally more Jarvis Cocker than Tom Waits.

On ‘The Club’ he sings about being tossed out of, well, a club, with cheery simplicity. ‘They threw me out the club, into the darkest alley.’ It’s the kind of jauntily downtrodden tune you might make up on your drunken way home. That is, if the rest of our beer-sodden incidents were also soundtracked by the BBC National Orchestra of Wales.

The orchestral backing here is soaring and delightful, and allows the album to transition easily from the humour of tracks like ‘Frontier Man’ to the gentle ‘Drones In The City’ and the surprisingly touching ‘Same Old Song’.

‘Babelsberg’ is the cinematic soundtrack of one man’s minor failures and awkward episodes, delivered with a shrug and a rueful smile.

Support Loud And Quiet from £3 per month and we'll post you our next 9 magazines

As all of us are constantly reminded, it’s getting harder for independent publishers to stay in business, which applies to Loud And Quiet more now than ever, 14 years after we first started printing a magazine that we’ve always given away for free.

Having thought about the best way to support the costs of what we do (the printing and server fees, the podcast and video production costs etc.) we’d like to ask our readers who really enjoy what we do to subscribe to our next 9 issues over the next 12 months. The cheapest we can afford to do this for is a recurring payment of £3 per month for UK subscribers. If you really start to hate it you can cancel at any time. The same goes for European subscriptions (£6 per month) and the rest of the world (£8 per month).

It’s not just a donation – you’ll receive a physical copy of our magazine through your door, and some extra perks detailed on our subscribe page. Digital subscriptions are available worldwide for £15 per year. We hope you consider this a good deal and the best way to keep Loud And Quiet in your life without its content, independence or existence suffering.