Never known to pull political punches as individuals, the unbowed voices of Cian Ciarán and She Drew The Gun’s Louisa Roach combine, as pantomime turns from farce to tragedy in the hands of politicians, to release Keep The Darkness Out on Strangetown Records. The electro-dabbling fifth of Super Furry Animals, Ciarán wires into a broad palette of mood-altering beats, while Roach dashes resonant words across the free-range, undulating, sonic textures.
A matter of survival, Roach’s words throw shade at the world’s dangerous forces of divisive politics, war and religion (How do we treat this angry child? Who hates his sisters who wants them blind?), while delivering the most profound warning that it’s the words and pictures of artists, authors and musicians which present the most potent forms of counter-attack. In the sense of ‘keeping the darkness out’, Roach reaches for the pages of books, the brush and the pen to keep distant the tense bubbles of social media, 24-hour news cycles and reality-warping influencers.
Keep The Darkness Out is the latest track to be revealed as part of Hero Leader God, a long-term project set for Winter 2020 release as a finished album, matching Ciarán’s diverse musical ideas with admired songwriters and wordsmiths, each sharing his desire for change. Other collaborators have included Steve Mason and Stephen Morrison-Burke.
Combining 25 years as a Super Furry Animal with solo projects and broader cultural initiatives, not limited to acclaimed albums (Outside In, 2012 and They Are Nothing Without Us, 2015), but orchestral scores (Rhys a Meinir with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales), installation and film, Ciarán is renowned as a happy studio adventurer. His restless investigations into electronic music, as well as a lifelong love of house music, added swathes of bleep, drone and squelch to a catalogue of adored Furries classics. On Keep The Darkness Out those sounds provide ballast to every word, while creating a purposeful sense of unease.