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Super Furry Animals - Guerrilla CD (album) cover


Super Furry Animals


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3.33 | 13 ratings

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4 stars This is SFA's 3rd full LP and it is quite the interesting conglomeration of styles and sounds with enough variety to make anyone happy at least for the duration of one track, but in most cases I think anyone would find themselves enjoying several tracks here. What the band was aiming for here was a pop oriented album. They wanted to explore many different styles and that is what happened. For me, this makes this album very enjoyable and fun, but most people might consider it a bit inconsistent because of the variety evident on the album. The one thread that holds most of the songs together on the album is that there is a strong reliance on electronic music and sounds and it is the first time the band had used a sampler (and they use it to add some original and interesting effects). The guitar is not relied upon as much on this album as it has been on other albums.

In the making of the album, the band planned on using the same producer as they had used previously, but he wanted the band to put off the album for a while so that he could rest up from being so busy producing other band's albums. SFA was way too eager to wait, so they ended up producing this album on their own. Since they were sharing the responsibilities of production, they all decided that they would have to reach a consensus as far as which of the 25 tracks that were recorded would be included on the album. They chose the tracks that were more electronic/keyboard oriented and that were more upbeat and "pop-ish" sounding. However, while the band insists on this being "a disposable pop album that you won't want to throw away" many critics insist that it is an excellent foray into psychedilia and dubbed the music "nu-psychedelic". Ghrys explains that psychedelic music should consist of more improvised material and says that all of the music here was pre-planned and has structure. So he insists that it is pop oriented.

Since the tracks are quite brief, that pop idea might hold out. However, even though the album did exceedingly well in Britain, the sounds on the album are very new and interesting, far above the typical pop sound. There are some very infectious tracks on here and there are some very experimental sounding tracks here too. Like I said, this album sports a wide variety of music, and a lot of it is very innovative. Just like most of SFA's other albums, I find this a very enjoyable album which breaks out of the mold of regular run of the mill pop more than it follows the typical pop formulas. Is it progressive though? Well probably not as much as most prog lovers would like, but I will definitely tell you it is much better than a lot of the usual sounding rock and pop music out there. I find it adventurous and interesting.

Most people seem to miss the fact that there are 2 hidden tracks on this album. The hidden track at the end is pretty much expected because it comes after several minutes of silence at the end of the last track. However, the other hidden track is in the pre-gap of the CD. If you start the CD and then hit rewind back to the first of the song and the CD will flip to the hidden beginning track, which is actually a full song and not the typical hidden track filler, so if you like the rest of the album, then you should take the time to find this track. Samples were used in unconventional ways. For example, the "Where Ever I Lay My Phone" is based on a repetitive conventional ring tone, while "The Door of This House Remains Open" is based on a processed recording of the band performing Rod Stewart's "Do You Think I'm Sexy". A lot of the music was also recorded as different situations dictated. The track "Northern Lights" is based on island rhythms that utilizes steel drums that were added at the last minute and played by the keyboardist who didn't know how to play steel drums.

I suppose the thing that would make this album lean towards the progressive genre is in the interesting methods of recording and the experiments in making popular music more interesting. While the album didn't do exceptional in the states, it was quite highly regarded and popular in Britain where it hit number 10 on the British Albums Chart. The music is definitely pop-prog in the same vein as 10CC, David Bowie or Roxy Music with sounds of glam-rock echoing throughout. I love the variety and the originality of the album, but I can't quite consider it a masterpiece. But it is better than a lot of other material out there and definitely far above they typical pop record. I see this as a strong 4 star album just as good as most 10CC albums if not better and more modern sounding and innovative. However, the band was a little put off over bad experiences from their foray into pop territory, that the next album "Mwing" would be almost a complete opposite to this being a lo-fi recording with most lyrics performed in somewhat non-existent language.

TCat | 4/5 |


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