All 2 entries tagged Super Furry Animals

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March 16, 2007

Double Shot: Ice Hockey Hair & Citizens' Band

Super Furry Animals

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.

Super Furry Animals

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
[Buy Guerilla]

Weren't you in Notting Hill? Err... yeah, but I also did Rancid Aluminium, remember that? Err... no.

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…

The Peth Myspace
Candylion Album MySpace
SFA News etc.


March 09, 2007

Nostalgia For The Nineties

I don’t know what it seems to be about 2007. A handful of my favourite bands from the nineties have been reinvigorated to attempt that elusive ‘return to form’ tagline that every band struggles with, after reaching any critical/commercial peak in their career. I’ve already posted new tracks from Idlewild and Ash that suggest a sort of nostalgia for a sound that the band has evolved away from but yearns to resurrect. The Manics are the next on the boat, with new single Your Love Alone Is Not Enough returning that bombast and confidence together with a pared down sound. Is it that as bands get older, their rough edges that might have endeared you to them in the first place have been worn down with sandpaper and (more likely) cleaner-cut production?

A lot of people seem to suggest that, claiming Idlewild’s A Remote Part and Warnings/Promises didn’t ‘rock’ as much so they weren’t on par with earlier releases. Is it just the tunes? the times? or that we can’t have the same emotional contact with a band’s 4th/5th album as opposed to their debut? In general I believe the latter to be the case. I could take someone like the Super Furry Animals, where every album is equally worthy of merit, yet if it came to a favourite album of theirs, I would have to side with Radiator, simply because that’s the one that first hit home. Again, Supergrass -> In It For The Money, same reason.

There’s been plenty of debate about the Modest Mouse album, how it’s trying to be a commercial retread of what they did on Lonesome Crowded West or The Moon and Antarctica. I’ve only heard a handful of songs from those two albums, and a couple off the new record, and I’d have to say that I prefer the new ones I’ve heard. Is that because my entry point was Good News For People Who Love Bad News? Is anyone else following me here?

Then again, there’s an argument that comes up to destroy any sort of discussion, saying that ‘it is as much about the person as it is about the music, so of course opinions are going to differ, noone’s right or wrong’. But that’s a cop out… and where’s the fun in that?


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