11 SFA Tunes to Start Your Summer With (part 2)
Published on June 1st, 2012 | Jonny Abrams
Here is part 2 of our 11 Super Furry Animals Tunes to Start Your Summer With feature – click here for part 1…
“Happiness is a Worn Pun” (B-side circa 2001 album Rings Around the World)
“What a marvellous dress / You look like a murderess / A ba-ba-barbarian / Dyslexic librarian / She looks me in disgust / There’s no room for discourse / I shake like a quaker / So see you later” – surely this must be a contender for best opening verse’s worth of lyrics ever. Furthermore, this brilliantly titled song is an absolute stonker – essentially it’s the same chord progression as in “The Teacher” slowed down into blaring sludge-rock that growls and fizzles and generally does things that only an SFA song can do.
Fellow Rings Around the World-era B-side “The Roman Road” would be a good one to take on holiday with you as a midsummer treat, along with “Northern Lites” of course. (Obviously these days you can take their entire back catalogue with you in your pocket, just play along.)
“Back on a Roll” (from 2005 album Love Kraft)
Love Kraft is an album whose full splendour is not immediately apparent, but sooner or later its highly evolved, psychedelic soul-pop will consume you. “Back On a Roll” – one of three Bunf-written songs on the record, and notably the only three to clock in at under four minutes – is ostensibly an ‘on the road’ song, in this case inspired by his returning home from tour having been away so long that his cat doesn’t recognise him (“Hello kitty, remember me?”). Imbued with Ciaran’s wibbly, watery synthwork, it seems like it must have been a very pleasant trip, in both senses of the word. It’s a beauty, trotting beat, psychedelic mid-section, roars of “hell, yeah!” and all.
A word also for the Furries’ long-term Monsterist Pete Fowler – his artwork for Love Kraft fits the album so beautifully, and that’s indicative of how intertwined his imagery has been with the whole SFA experience ever since his iconic cover for Radiator. In this way, Fowler is as much a part of SFA as the band themselves, and fingers crossed he will be when *fingers crossed again* they eventually get round to studio album number ten.
“Show Your Hand” (from 2007 album Hey Venus!)
For some reason a flat-out audio recording of “Show Your Hand” does not seem to exist on YouTube, but unless they have the greatest sound man ever known then we suspect they’re miming to it in this otherwise thoroughly enjoyable, helmet-topped performance for T4. This is perhaps the most the Furries have ever sounded like early-’70s Beach Boys, and simultaneously, possibly, the closest Rhys had by that point come to a croon.
“Show Your Hand” feels like a gentle gateway into summer – indeed, it shares an album with “The Gateway Song” – and it’s so colourful and luxurious that you’ll just want to go and sit in the park and bask in its warm, liquid sunshine. And then it’s followed on the LP by a Christmas song! What are they like?
“Ysbeidiau Heulog” (from 2000 album Mwng)
Aside from brief but barmy opener “Drygioni”, this song – the title of which, fact fans, is Welsh for ‘sunny intervals’ – stands out like a sore thumb on an album otherwise comprised of a more pastoral psychedelia. It also represents one of the very finest marriages of lunacy and uber-catchiness in an oeuvre full of it. Super Furry Animals have often sounded like they were beamed down from another planet, and on this particular trip they brought their bucket and spade with them.
“Blerwytirhwng?” (from 1998 album Out Spaced), originally on 1995 EP Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch (In Space)
Literally translated as ‘where are you between?’, this hazily euphoric mini-epic sits proudly both on an EP that made the Guinness Book of Records (guess what for) and at the end of the very album that broke SFA for a young Rocksucker many moons ago. Okay, Out Spaced is not technically a studio album, but it is too awesome not to be treated as such.
As for the song itself, well, go out in the sun somewhere, enjoy a few ciders and then listen.
“Ice Hockey Hair” (from 1998 EP Ice Hockey Hair)
Not necessarily the sunniest song Super Furry Animals ever made, but it is Rocksucker’s favourite so we’re going to make a list of eleven out of what was going to be a list of ten, which we shall justify by palming it off as a Euro 2012 thing.