It's kind of strange to think about a favorite band as being "under the radar", then realizing that they've got eight full length albums, a rarities collection, and a singles compilation. Generally bands that stay under the radar don't stick around long enough to be that prolific. But Hey Venus! marks the bands eight album, and fourth in the last five years or so.
Much like their last album, Love Kraft, Gruff Rhys shares the vocal duties with Huw Bunford ("Battersea Oddessy") and Cian Ciaran ("Carbon Dating", which sounds a lot like his Acid Casuals song "Bowl Me Over"). This might be their most pop-friendly album since, well, maybe ever. After the brief introduction of "Gateway Song", the album launches into the two most consumer friendly tracks on the album, "Run Away" and "Show Your Hand", before settling down with the mellowed out "Gift that Keeps Giving".
Like a lot of SFA albums, except for maybe Rings Around the World and Phantom Power, it tails off a little bit at the end, and you'll probably find yourself listening to the first seven tracks a lot, and the last four tracks not so much. That's not to say they aren't great tracks, but they tend to require the right mood, whereas a song like "Run Away" sounds good no matter what you're in the mood for. There are no real epic, defining tracks here, like Love Kraft's "Lazer Beam", Phantom Power's "Slow Life", or Rings' "Receptacle for the Respectable" or "Run, Christian, Run". But start to finish, it's on par with all of those albums.
Here's Run-Away; Show Your Hand (you have to sit through a minute or so of chat, but you'll get a cool glimpse of "God, Show Me Magic"); and the Gift that Keeps on Giving.