American Interior Review

American Interior Review

Go in search of Welsh-speaking Native Americans in this interactive adventure from Super Furry Animals star Gruff Rhys

American Interior is an ambitious multi-platform experience by artist Gruff Rhys, perhaps most famous as a member of the band Super Furry Animals in the 1990s. He has combined a book, film, solo album and most importantly for us, an app to tell the story of John Evans, an 18th-century explorer from Wales, who travelled to the USA in search of a mythical tribe of Welsh-speaking Indians.

The story itself is fascinating even for the casual follower of history, as it gives a new insight into life in the very young United States at the time, but the way Rhys presents it through the 100 individual chapters in the app makes it even more approachable and engaging. It is mostly a tap-and-read/listen/watch experience, but the design and storytelling craft more than make up for any lack of interactivity, and Rhys’s thick Welsh accent and quirky presence make it that much more personable.

If there is any complaint to be found, it is that at times it feels like a taster platter of the other (more expensive) versions of American Interior, as you won’t get full songs to listen to, chapters to read or scenes to watch, but it’s only a minor drawback as we kept tapping feverishly through to the end of this quirkily epic double journey of Evans and Rhys, 200 years apart. Also, listen for the deliciously home-cooked sound effects.

Rated 4 out of 5

American Interior successfully combines an eclectic mix of ways to tell a lost epic of a story