Thursday, August 14, 2014

Music Review - Super Furry Animals - Guerrilla

Their first album was sung entirely in their native Welsh tongue (a sample: "Gwir a chelwydd sydd mewn plisgyn") and it's only gotten better from then. Guerrilla, the third album from British post-alternative band Super Furry Animals finds an album with a manifesto, sucking in and regurgitating musical genres with an alarming alacrity. Punk, power-pop, techno, dance house, calypso, folk, and progressive rock are all thrown into the pot, simmering into a tasty stew, a new psychedelia for the new millennium. The song that first drew me to this band is "Do or Die", a literal two minute explosion of guitar punk/pop energy. I soon found other songs creeping into my consciousness, such as "Northern Lites" with it's steel drums, Caribbean brass, and salsa rhythm. "Keep the Cosmic Trigger Happy", with its "Penny Lane" beat and celestial lyrics is a direct descendant of Klaatu. The chaotic party feel of Pere Ubu infiltrates "Night Vision" which segues into the techno/dance house "Wherever I Lay My Phone (That's My Home)", an ode to cellular technology. "A Specific Ocean" gives the listener a breather from this excited atmosphere with its ambient, beautiful, slow groove. Sonically, this album intentionally destroys the concept of "genre", gleefully crushing it under its furry foot. Quiet waves of synthesized sound are replaced with punk fuzz guitar and heavy drums which in turn are overcome with thick choruses replete with what can only be described as super furry animal voices (think Muppets on steroids). The music is imaginative, wigged out, abstract yet melodic, and totally fresh.

This review first appeared in WhatzUp, December 1999.

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