“I thought that as I’m getting on a bit, the time had come to buy a suit and record an album of piano ballads” Gruff Rhys explains. “However, I got bored, the record diversified and evolved – things turned out a bit differently…”
Gruff Rhys checks in with third solo album, Hotel Shampoo, his most ambitious and fully realized yet. As well as the intentions above, Hotel Shampoo is inspired by, and takes its title from, Gruff’s extensive collection of mini shampoo bottles and complimentary hotel products acquired whilst touring the world. “Having never kept a journal these items have become like diary entries, triggering memories of all those buildings and random people I’ve met and inspiring songs on the album.”
Hotel Shampoo’s reception desk and opener Shark Ridden Waters (available now on 12” and as a free download) is a slice of kaleidoscopic, cinematic pop music produced by Andy Votel. A dozen equally sumptuous songs follow with Gruff’s highly original, cliché-free lyrics ranging over a wide spectrum of topics. Uplifting, mariachi-tinged Sensations In The Dark celebrates discovering music, eco politics is discussed on Conservation Conversation, colonization invades 60s style stomp Christopher Columbus and Patterns Of Power touches on inequality over wailing, distorted guitar. Love in it’s various guises also features heavily – from sugar sweet Honey All Over, string drenched At The Heart Of Love, achingly beautiful ballad If We Were Words (We Would Rhyme) to Space Dust #2; a tale of short-lived, seminar-sparked romance in the form of a duet with El Perro Del Mar. In addition to vocals, Gruff has played much of the instrumentation himself with the album mostly recorded in north Wales before being mixed in LA.
Gruff will be packing his bags and hitting mini bars across the globe as he undertakes the Hotel Shampoo Live tour. The shows are listed overleaf and tickets are on sale now with the option to get the album, tour shirt or download at the same time.
The Shark Ridden Waters video features the genius French actor Roxane Mesquida and is a Godard inspired Mediterranean meditation by director Peter Gray, depicting a distracted man lost in a world of social networking.