I’ve been over the Severn Bridge enough times to know that Wales is a real place of Black Mountains, green valleys and rain. But I prefer to think of it as an imaginary kingdom, a Narnia, an Oz or The Shire, where an ancient sect of musical jesters known as Super Furry Animals roam the land in their quest to bring a bit of magical freakery to people’s lives before the next evil King, Queen or wizard comes along. Yet while this fantasy is just a figment of my imagination, if you think about it, in the late nineties and early noughties it really wasn’t that far from the truth.
My first encounter with Super Furry Animals came when they flew in on the crest of Britpop. Now you can say what you like about that much maligned movement but honestly, I was too young to care. Britpop was my generation’s punk or rave and like a lot of kids born in the early eighties, I loved it. Ok, so it may not have amounted to much, but for the first and possibly last time, my generation had something of their own to get excited about.
The Super Furries were an essential part of all that. As Oasis championed their moronic revivalism and Blur sank into heartbreakingly dissonant sad bastard music, Gruff Rhys, Dafydd Ieuan, Huw Bunford, Guto Pryce, and Cian Ciaran retained a yearning for bright, groovy melodies even when they were chucking 52 fucks, a Steely Dan sample and protest politics into one of their greatest tunes.
Somehow, whether by luck or design, Super Furry Animals created a vast, largely self-contained world that was wholly their own. Full of fuzzed up indie, psychedelic pop, country, glam and jaunts into the outer reaches of techno, hip-hop and funk, their albums and live escapades have proved as pioneering as they have madcap; singing ingenious songs about unicorns and alien abductions, filling stages with yetis, milk floats, power rangers and the tank they took to festivals in the nineties before selling it to Don Henley.
Few groups have rewarded their modest international cult of obsessives with more or merrier pranks than Super Furry Animals. Too clever by half for some, too anarchic for others, potential fans have always been perplexed by their antics and their inbuilt need to perpetually morph from song to song and album to album. It’s obvious that unlike their peers, with their healthy disregard for musical fashion, they have never felt the need to please anyone but themselves. They have simply made the music they want to make and if people have bought it, that’s been a bonus. Super Furry Animals really don’t give a fuck, and that’s just how it should be!
01. Focus Pocus/Debiel (Moog Droog EP October 1995)
02. Hometown Unicorn (Single A Side February 1996)
03. God! Show Me Magic (Single A Side April 1996)
04. If You Don't Want Me To Destroy You (Fuzzy Logic May 1996)
05. Bad Behaviour (Fuzzy Logic May 1996)
06. The Man Don't Give A Fuck (Single A Side December 1996)
07. Hermann Loves Pauline (Single A Side May 1997)
08. Calimero (Single B Side May 1997)
09. The International Language Of Screaming (Single A Side July 1997)
10. Demons (Radiator August 1997)
11. Ice Hockey Hair (Ice Hockey Hair EP May 1998)
12. Do Or Die (Guerrilla June 1999)
13. Wherever I Lay My Phone (That's My Home) (Guerrilla June 1999)
14. (Drawing) Rings Around The World (Rings Around The World July 2001)
15. Shoot Doris Day (Rings Around The World July 2001)
16. Out Of Control (Phantom Power July 2003)
17. Slow Life (Phantom Power July 2003)
18. Zoom! (Love Kraft August 2005)
19. Neo Consumer (Hey Venus! August 2007)
20. The Very Best Of Neil Diamond (Dark Days/Light Years March 2009)