Gruff Rhys - American Interior  (Turnstile)

Gruff Rhys – American Interior (Turnstile)


Single handedly leading the fightback for the redemption of concept albums, Gruff Rhys‘ new solo adventure is a book, app, film and record all about a 1790s explorer on the hunt for lost tribes of the Welsh-speaking variety in America.

In the wrong hands it could have turned into a confused, Ed Wood style splatter of strangeness – yet American Interior not only transpires to be an emotionally satisfying record, but also a successful reinvention of the album itself in the digital age.

The tunes are what matters though – and in Gruff’s furry hands, tunes are something you can count on. ‘The Whether (Or Not)’ is a surreal prog-pop song that bounces between unpredictable catchy hooks, ‘The Swamp’ somehow marries glitchtronica with piano balladry, while ‘The Last Conquistador‘ echoes Neon Neon with its strangely upbeat, sci-fi sadness.

Top of the pops, meanwhile, is the Andy Votel produced ‘Allweddellau Allweddol’, which feels like the moment Roger Moore met all those kick-ass Japanese schoolgirls in ‘The Man With The Golden Gun’, albeit a Roger Moore armed with a sampler and an opium pipe. The title track, meanwhile, is blissful and searching.

With an app packed with mini-movies, audio clips and Pete Fowler-created graphics, a book that puts weight into the story of John Evans and a film from the makers of Seperado! All set to accompany American Interior, it’s a fine bundle of media indeed.

Perhaps most intriguingly however, it seems like somebody is at last reinventing the album for the post-CD era. No surprises that the ever-innovative Gruffster is the man welding the compass.


God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.