Double Shot: Ice Hockey Hair & Citizens' Band
As well as new music, I figured I’d start writing about songs by bands you’ve heard of but maybe not heard. These could be EP tracks inbetween albums that get lost and forgotten, B-sides that outshadow the A-sides, hidden tracks on albums you never knew about or just songs that are just good, that you need reminding about. First up are the Super Furry Animals, and you get two tracks in the first installment, Ice Hockey Hair and Citizens’ Band.
I mentioned previously that my favourite Super Furry Animals album is Radiator, saying it was when I first really was ‘exposed’ to the delights of this Welsh collective. Inbetween Radiator and their next album Guerilla, they released a fantastic EP of songs, including the one here, Ice Hockey Hair. It’s a meld of everything that was good on Radiator, the joyous disregard for seriousness in all of the lyrics, a killer guitar line, an even bigger chorus, and a playful mash of production styles without sounding like a bad patchwork. That kind of playfulness in the studio led to the more eclectic Guerilla, ranging from calypso (Northern Lites), techno (Whereever I Lay My Phone), straight up folk (Fire In My Heart), barbershop ambient electropop (Chewing Chewing Gum) alongside their usual oddball indie-rock.
Which leads into the second track, Citizens’ Band. One of the best songs on that album, it’s probably the least recognised, because on the original CD you have to rewind the first track (Check It Out) for five minutes to get to the start. What you get for your troubles is another perfect amalgamation of the SFA sound, all with a fondness for the fad of CB radio talk (if you got the CD with a cardboard case, it also has a glossary of these phrases hidden on the inside). A simple flute line leads us in, and Gruff Rhys pulls out a few lines to start us off. A rollicking chorus somehow appears after a quickening of pace, but its stay is cut back as the song slows back down to our ‘lonely cartel’s musings. By the time the second chorus comes around, we’re led further in, more guitars layering on top with ‘mic in hand, on the Citizens’ Band’ repeating us down the highway for the home stretch. It’s simple, in context of the whole record, but that helps it stand out as one of the better songs, it doesn’t need a production quirk to make it interesting.
From Ice Hockey Hair EP (1998):
Super Furry Animals – Ice Hockey Hair MP3 Expired
[Buy Super Furry Animals Songbook Vol. 1]
From Guerilla (1999):
Super Furry Animals – Citizens’ Band MP3 Expired
The Furries’ are preparing us a new album for release in the summer but there’s plenty to keep you ticking over while you wait. There’s an album from frontman Gruff Rhys, Candylion, out now, and some songs from another side-project, The Peth (above, also featuring original SFA singer, Rhys Ifans. Recognise that name?) available on their MySpace. One of the songs is called Let’s Get Fucking Mental. Yes, lets…