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Gruff Rhys: Hotel Shampoo

Album Reviews:

Spin (p.73) - "[W]himsically rewarding, mildly schizophrenic psych-pop."

Q (Magazine) (p.114) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "[A] characteristic gem...teeming with inventiveness and whimsical charm....Rhys wears his creativity lightly here."

Clash (magazine) - "HOTEL SHAMPOO shows off a simpler, stripped back Rhys -- whose lyrics are placed front and centre of beautifully arranged tracks, each imbued with an infectious energy."

Record Collector (magazine) (p.89) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "Without ever slipping into self-pity or over-sentimentality, Gruff faces up to some of the lesser-celebrated facts of humanity, yet sweetens the pill with his most meticulously-crafted solo album yet."

Uncut (magazine) (p.96) - 3 stars out of 5 -- "[S]eemingly quirky and trivial, but executed with such honesty and dedication that it acquires an unexpected layer of meaning and poignancy."

Album Notes

Nominally inspired by Gruff Rhys' habit of collecting sample bottles of shampoo at every hotel he's stayed at over the years, Hotel Shampoo is decidedly not a cosmetic concept album, yet it does have an underlying musical theme. Rhys uses this third solo album to slide into his softer side, creating a sweetly hazy, soft pop fantasia that recalls both Bacharach and the sunnier side of `60s psychedelia. Such softly swirling spaciness has been Rhys' specialty ever since Super Furry Animals hit their stride, but the noteworthy thing about Hotel Shampoo is that he sustains his mood while serving up one of his strongest set of songs. The textures are tunes that are familiar yet not comfortable; they take twists and turns, with the melodies following unexpected contours and the arrangements colored with contrasting hues and textures. There's a lot going on, but Hotel Shampoo never seems cluttered. It flows easily, so easily that it becomes an album to get lost in. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine


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