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Super Furry Animals - Rings Around The World CD (album) cover

RINGS AROUND THE WORLD

Super Furry Animals

 

Prog Related

3.79 | 15 ratings

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frenchie
Prog Reviewer
5 stars This is still probably the best Super Furry Animals album of thier whole discography, although they are all incredible in my eyes. This one has just as great songwriting as the others but with a bit more umph to make it their best work. It definetly has the best range of the bands influences, elements and shows off all the best sides of their music, taking in all the different styles they have made. This album does what "Radiator" first did for this band by pushing themselves to show off how much range a band can successfully make in sound. There is a less of an impact in that area here as "Raditor" was an epic step forward in songwriting. "Rings Around the World" takes that epic step forward and polishes it up to create their finest set of songs to date.

The albums inbetween "Radiator" and this one have been excellent in their own right, concentrating on their own styles and areas of sound, whilst this one brings together all the things that make up this band. Kicking off with "Alternate Route to Vulcan Street", this is a really original piece that still sounds like something completely new for them. It's a really downer, mellow piano droner and just sounds beautiful with its slow progression and simplicity. A truely stunning opener, that perhaps is odd to kick off such a lively album but it is one of my faves.

More intense psychadelia is polished up nicely for rock out tune "Sidewalk Serfer Girl", which already sounds like the band have matured and gained the ability to write even better tunes than on their heavily psychadelic debut album. There is some nice pounding guitar and vocals here and it has the whole stop start procedure that is similar to "She's Got Spies" from "Radiator".

The title track is an excellent rocker and a live favourite. This song builds up nicely and has a nice mellowing outro to it. This song is a very fun rocker and keeps the album flowing really well. The track to follow it up has some amazing vocal work from Gruff which really powers the whole song. Quite emotional for such a crazy band really.

"Receptacle for the Respectable" is one of the best tracks on the album that is really proggy even though it is only 4 and a half minutes of music. The track explodes from the very first second with some "Rubber Soul" era Beatles style upbeat and positive acoustic work with great vocals. The song somehow finds its way into some slower moments and ends in an almost heavy metal, scary style climax. It really has to be heard to be believed, but it is an excellent, proggy, puzzling tune. This leads into some filler, its good filler though, with a short pulsating hip hop style tune. Rather puzzling but it works link the songs together and adds some trippiness to this album.

"Shoot Doris Day" adds some rather lovely string and orchestral work into the song and is quite an epic on this album. The vocal work is really strong and its an altogether amazing song that starts off powerfully and has some mellower verse sections. "Miniature" is another filler instrumental, this one is pretty crap but so short that it doesn't really bother me.

At the time that this album was released, Gruff Rhys said that "No Sympathy" was the best song that he ever wrote and best band composition. I think he could be right there as this song is truely a masterpiece. It starts out like a twisted acoustic ballad with some rather harsh lyrics. There is an epic chorus with string work to make it humourously dramatic as Gruff sings, "You deserve to die" in a really positive way with vocal harmonies. The track finds its way into some really trippy experimental sounds that swirl around in your head. An altogether amazing and epic track.

The next track, "Juxtaposed Wit U" is a beautiful work that is heavily based on orchestral work. A really positive and lyrically suggestive song that has become a favourite among fans. The verses have strange robotic vocal effects and when Gruff's normal vocals come in when the chorus hits it sounds lovely. A classic track.

The last 3 tracks off the album are less lively. These longer tracks are rather mellow and acoustic based but definitely three amazing tracks. "Presidential Suite", is one of the best. The theme of this song starts off about the affair between Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinski. The song is really beautifully sung, juxtaposed against the foul lyrics such as, "Honestly! Do we need to know if he really came inside her mouth?". This is another song that flows beautifully and has some amazing use of orchestral instruments that the band really acquired a taste for as they appear a lot on the next two studio albums.

The next two track wind down the album well with some slow and long moving pieces giving a balance of emotions and moods to the album in a fine way. This song builds up and down so well and is one of the proggier works of the album though probably not in a way that Yes or Genesis would do prog. Altogether this is a masterpiece. You can't really go wrong here. Highly recommended and a brilliant starting point for new fans.

frenchie | 5/5 |

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