The breadth of ideas on display here is astonishing.
Ian Wade 2003-07-18
The Super Furry Animals emerged as a breath of fresh air in 1995, just as Britpop was gasping its last. The band were a positively exotic option compared with the rest of the UKindie scene, not to mention their Welsh compatriots The Stereophonics and Catatonia. They've always been a completely unique and innovative band; whether it's buying a tank to blast techno out of at festivals, dressing up as yetis& Power Rangers, or recording Sir Paul McCartney chewing celery, they've always entertained.
Songbook Volume One is a collection of all 20(!) of their Creation/Epic singles to date, along with "Blerwytirhwng" from 1995's pre-Creation debut EP Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyndrobwllantysilio-gogogochynygofod (In Space).
Two of the many highlights on Songbook include the sublime "Ice Hockey Hair" and the epic "The Man Don't Give A F***" - here in it's original version rather than the near half-hour acid freak out that ends their live shows.
Over the last nine years The Super Furry Animals have made consistently excellent music but have frequently been over-looked by critics and have failed to achieve great commercial success. The breadth of ideas on display here is astonishing. From the fried space-folk of "Hometown Unicorn" via the lone indie/calypso crossover of "Northern Lites" to the airbrushed MOR of "Juxtapozed With U" and the Orbital-tinged "Slow Life".
There's evidence of a Beach Boys influence on the mellow "Hello Sunshine" and "Don't Want Me To Destroy You". While there are also great hairy rock outs such as "Golden Retriever", "God! Show Me Magic" and "Do Or Die". Every track is unskippable, making this one of the best singles collections ever. Completely brilliant.