Dark Days/Light Years

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Dark Days/Light Years
Studio album by
Released16 March 2009
Recorded2007–2009, Faster Recording Studio, Cardiff
GenreAlternative rock, experimental rock
LabelRough Trade
ProducerChris Shaw, Super Furry Animals
Super Furry Animals chronology
Hey Venus!
Dark Days/Light Years
Zoom! The Best of 1995–2016
Alternative cover art
Vinyl cover art

Dark Days/Light Years, the ninth and most recent studio album by Super Furry Animals, was digitally released at 8pm on 16 March 2009 via the band's website, with a physical release following on the 21st of April on Rough Trade Records.[1] The album's title is taken from a lyric in the song "Moped Eyes" ("dark days seem light years away").

Many of the songs on the album are based on riffs and grooves the band had been working on for several years.[1] The band originally planned to record the album in Miraval, France like their previous effort Hey Venus!, but decided to record in Cardiff with a considerably lower budget than previous efforts.

The completion of the album was documented by a series of 22 short films that were shown on the Super Furry Animals website, with one film added each day leading up to its original digital release. The videos were inspired by the Mike Figgis film Timecode and were described by The Guardian as "at once enormously dull, pleasingly insightful and curiously compelling."[2][3]

Longtime sleeve designer Pete Fowler collaborated with Hey Venus! artist Keiichi Tanaami to produce the album's artwork.[1] According to Rhys Tanaami wanted to work with the band having seen Fowler's previous Super Furry Animals record sleeves.[4] The track "Inaugural Trams" includes spoken word German vocals by Franz Ferdinand's Nick McCarthy.[5] The song impacted radio on April 21, 2009.[6] The band broadcast a live show on their own website (superfurry.com) featuring songs from the album on the day of its digital release, which proved a success despite initial technical glitches.[7] They didn't tour the album in a conventional manner, gigging infrequently.[8]

The 12" vinyl release features different artwork from the CD version, and also has a free copy of the album on CD slipped inside the sleeve. The album peaked at #23 in the UK Album Charts in its first week of physical release. It may have charted higher but the band sold a number of pre-order copies and digital downloads via their website, which is not a registered chart company.

At just over an hour, it is the band's longest album.

To promote the album, lead singer Gruff Rhys described it as having a "biblical sound," and said that the band wouldn't be able to play any of its songs indoors.[9]

Lyrical themes[edit]

Singer and chief lyric writer Gruff Rhys has claimed that "The Very Best Of Neil Diamond" is about how you can't choose the soundtrack to your life" while "Inaugural Trams" is "a celebratory anthem regarding the opening of a new tram line in a fictitious utopian mainland Europe town".[10][11] The current economic downturn is referenced briefly in songs such as "Inaugural Trams" and "Inconvenience". Rhys has described the writing process as "very collaborative".[12]

Musical style[edit]

According to Rhys the band made a "conscious decision really was not to include the slow numbers" on Dark Days/Light Years going on to state that "There are not a whole lot of chords in these songs; they're not as song-based in the conventional song writing. They've been developed out of band jams, but it turned out sounding like songs pretty much anyway".[12]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Review scores
The Boston Phoenix[16]
The Guardian[17]
The Sunday Times[23]

Dark Days/Light Years received generally positive reviews, with Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, giving the album a score of 84 denoting "universal acclaim".[14]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks are written by Super Furry Animals, unless otherwise stated

No.TitleLead vocalsLength
1."Crazy Naked Girls"Gruff Rhys/Huw Bunford6:15
2."Mt."Cian Ciaran4:25
3."Moped Eyes"Rhys4:13
4."Inaugural Trams"Rhys5:19
6."Cardiff in the Sun"Rhys8:16
7."The Very Best of Neil Diamond"Rhys4:14
8."Helium Hearts"Rhys/Ciaran2:50
9."White Socks/Flip Flops"Bunford5:09
10."Where Do You Wanna Go?"Rhys2:28
11."Lliwiau Llachar"Rhys3:12


The following people contributed to Dark Days/Light Years:[25]


Additional musicians[edit]

  • Nick McCarthy - Spoken word on "Inaugural Trams"
  • Kris Jenkins - Percussion
  • Jessica Rochman - Strings

Recording personnel[edit]

  • Chris Shaw – Co-Producer, Mixing, Engineering
  • Super Furry Animals – Co-Producer
  • Dave Newfeld – Recording of intro to "Crazy Naked Girls" (Miraval Studios)
  • Stuart Hawkes – Mastering (Metropolis Mastering)



Publication Country Accolade Year Rank
Uncut United Kingdom Uncut 50 best albums of 2009[26] 2009 2


  1. ^ a b c "Super Furry Animals reveal new album title". NME. 29 January 2009. Retrieved 30 January 2009.
  2. ^ Salmon, Chris (27 February 2009). "Feeding time at the studio". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 26 April 2010.
  3. ^ "It's the Super Filmy Animals". The Guardian. 25 February 2009. Retrieved 26 April 2010.
  4. ^ Usborne, Simon (12 April 2009). "How We Met: Pete Fowler & Gruff Rhys". The Independent. London. Retrieved 26 April 2010.
  5. ^ "Franz Ferdinand collaborate with Super Furry Animals". NME. 4 April 2009. Retrieved 6 April 2009.
  6. ^ "AllAccess.com Alternative eWeekly". AllAccess. 14 April 2009. Retrieved 2 July 2016.
  7. ^ "Live Review - Super Furry Animals online gig". Archived from the original on 21 March 2009.
  8. ^ Diver, Mike (28 April 2009). "Super Furry Animals interview". Clash. Retrieved 8 December 2009.
  9. ^ Pinnock, Tom (8 April 2009). "Super Furry Animals plot 'incredible' return". BBC News. Retrieved 1 May 2010.
  10. ^ Richards, Sam (20 March 2009). "Super Furry Animals are happily home to a hwyl in the wall". The Times. London. Retrieved 14 December 2009.
  11. ^ Porter, Tom (30 January 2009). "Super Furry Animals' new album track-by-track guide". MusicRadar. Retrieved 14 December 2009.
  12. ^ a b Gunasekaran, Divya (31 August 2009). "Super Furry Animals: Interview With Gruff Rhys: Day For Night". The Aquarian Weekly. Retrieved 26 April 2010.
  13. ^ "Dark Days/Light Years by Super Furry Animals reviews". AnyDecentMusic?. Retrieved 24 January 2020.
  14. ^ a b "Reviews for Dark Days/Light Years by Super Furry Animals". Metacritic. Retrieved 10 December 2009.
  15. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Dark Days/Light Years – Super Furry Animals". AllMusic. Retrieved 24 January 2020.
  16. ^ Lundy, Zeth (30 March 2009). "Super Furry Animals | Dark Days / Light Years". The Boston Phoenix. Archived from the original on 8 February 2010. Retrieved 24 January 2020.
  17. ^ Burgess, John (20 March 2009). "Super Furry Animals: Dark Days/Light Years". The Guardian. Retrieved 24 January 2020.
  18. ^ "Super Furry Animals: Dark Days/Light Years". Mojo (186): 96. May 2009.
  19. ^ Woodhouse, Alan (12 March 2009). "Album Review: Super Furry Animals". NME. Archived from the original on 11 October 2012. Retrieved 24 January 2020.
  20. ^ Hogan, Marc (20 April 2009). "Super Furry Animals: Dark Days/Light Years". Pitchfork. Retrieved 24 January 2020.
  21. ^ "Super Furry Animals: Dark Days/Light Years". Q (274): 119. May 2009.
  22. ^ Wood, Mikael (June 2009). "Super Furry Animals: Dark Days/Light Years". Spin. 25 (6): 97. Retrieved 24 January 2020.
  23. ^ Cairns, Dan (22 March 2009). "Super Furry Animals: Dark Days/Light Years". The Sunday Times. Archived from the original on 16 June 2011. Retrieved 24 January 2020.
  24. ^ Pattison, Louis (8 April 2009). "Album review: Super Furry Animals – Dark Days/Light Years". Uncut. Archived from the original on 19 May 2011. Retrieved 24 January 2020.
  25. ^ Hey Venus! (CD booklet). Super Furry Animals. London: Rough Trade Records. 2007. p. 8.{{cite AV media notes}}: CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  26. ^ "50 best albums". Uncut. 152: 60. January 2010.

External links[edit]