Super Furry Animals – Songbook (Singles)

Super Furry Animals career looks like something dreamt out of Bill Drummonds “How To Be An Art Terrorist” manual. A history littered with tanks, ex drug smugglers, expletive laden singles, welsh language albums, inflatable toys and prog rock surround sound. When they first broke out on Creation Records they were the opposing force to Oasis and the rest of Alan McGee’s roster. Hippy fried Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci-isms met drug addled Beach Boys and ELO tributes. And this from a front man, who at one time was responsible for teaching your kids. God help the Welsh.

The singles collection, or songbook as they quaintly call it, reads like the Magic Roundabout in musical form. “Ice Hockey Hair”, “Golden Retriever” and “Hermann Loves Pauline”, cute songtitles ranging from the chilled out bliss of the former to the nosebleed techno wigout of “Hermann Loves Pauline”, a song itself about Einstein’s parents. “Slow Life” with it’s 2 step meets Wu Tang on a techno tip before launching into steel guitar led country song shows the Super Furries at their most eclectic in just under seven minutes

Most of all this collection however shows just what great songwriters Super Furry Animals are. If you wanted acid tinged pop or shroomadelica you’d look at the respective album tracks, but the singles collections reminds us how many great pop records they’ve released. The ballads (“Fire In My Heart”, “Demon”, “Hello Sunshine”, If You Don’t Want Be To Destroy You”) are interspersed with traditional rock that Status Quo wouldn’t even dare to record (“Do Or Die”, Rings Around The World”, “God Show Me Magic”. Elsewhere they surprised us with the calypso pop of “Northern Light” and the James Taylor-esque soul of “Juxtaposed With U”, surely the first time the word juxtaposed has been used in a pop song never mind as the main hook. The fact that they tried to get Mark Morrisson or Brian Harvey to sing backing vocals on the latter and when attempts failed they simply used a voicebox with added an electronic robot soul to the mix.

“Songbook: Volume 1” is an essential collection that looks back at one of Britain’s maverick talents.

Alex McCann

Post your Super Furry Animals comments / reviews on the Message Board
(NB: The message board opens in a new window so please disable your pop-up blocker to view)