12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 29 October 2004
2004 has seen a number of Britpop survivors in sticky situations, so you'd expect the Super Furry Animals- a band who were once described as just another Alan McGee-assisted fad- to do the same, but no. The Super Furry Animals have consistently innovative and listenable.
Songbook is a collection of the finest singles from one of the most colourful singles bands of the last decade. The bizarre and entertaining publicity stunts have ranged from arriving to festivals in a pink tank to pissing about with Yetis, while the music remains just as weird and wonderful. Every alt-rock classic is here, from the early fuzz-rock of God! Show Me Magic to Caribbean-flavoured classic Northern Lites. It's a showcase for the fact that the Furries are as original and daring as experimentalist mates Mogwai, but their best tunes will remain stuck in your head for weeks. They're one of the few bands who can create an instant Top 20 hit and still stick two minutes of Japanese phone noises at the end of it.
If you're not yet an SFA devotee, this is the perfect starting point. It's a Greatest Hits that's far more than just a collection of their most commercial work: amidst the 21 tracks are two songs sung in Welsh, a seven-minute techno exploration and a chart hit with the most uses of the f-word in it ever. Funny, accessible and original, and this is just volume one.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 11 July 2005
I bought this on the back of hearing a few of the Furries later singles, and didn't really know what to expect. I listened to it once or twice, then put it away. At first it didn't grab me - it was too strange, the styles to disparate. But, having heard 'Fire In My Heart' on the radio, I decided to give it another listen. And, boy, I wasn't disappointed.
Maybe it didn't grab me that first time because I was listening to it in the rainy spring, because this is perfect summer music.
The ballads and love songs - the singles that first drew me to the collection - are the most immediate tracks here. They are tender, modest, humorous and human. The childlike lyrics of the gorgeous 'Fire In My Heart' ('I've got pins and needles for you') the wailing harmonies on the happy-sad (hence the rather wonderful question mark) 'It's Not The End Of The World?' the shimmering 'Juxtaposed With U' all sing of the summer. And, of course, 'Hello Sunshine' does too - how can it not with a name like that?
The rest of the collection spins like a kid's yoyo through various styles - 'Something 4 The Weekend', a britpop love-song to drugs, the samba of 'Northern Lites', the glorious two fingers to The Man of 'The Man Don't Give A....'. '(Drawing) Rings Around The World' feels like flying in a plane above the clouds on a midsummer day, whereas 'Golden Retriever' is lurching, long-haired 70s rock.
However, as much as the collection rockets through different styles, strands run through the work of SFA that ties it together. The wonderful Welsh voices, off-the wall lyrics (the best example of this is probably Hermann Loves Pauline's, 'Hermann loves Pauline and Pauline loves Hermann /
They made love and gave birth to a little German'
but you could draw equally weird and wonderful examples from any song in this collection), the psychedelia. Oh, and by the way, it's really funky, too. Try sitting still to... well, almost anything on here, really.
The Super Furries are a breath of fresh, summery air in a pretty staid pop world. That they're as big as they are is a blessing. That the 'Special Edition' release of this CD is special purely for it's cardboard pop-up of two horses is even better. Gorgeous, unusual, summery tunes, all the way from Wales. Don't hesitate - buy it. Even if you're disappointed, persist, and soon you'll fall in love with the Furries own, uniquely beautiful world.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 8 June 2005
I am an absolutely MASSIVE SFA fan but I foresee that if I start writing about how great they are here I won't stop - so this review is just going to be about the disappointments in a bizarre Best Of.
i) Why's it not in chronological order? Generally I think this is a terrible idea for Greatest Hits compilations but it really would show just how much and how often the Super Furries have progressed, so I think it'd make sense to begin with the Britpop of Fuzzy Logic, work through the experimentation of Guerilla and finish with the lush strings of Rings Around The World and Phantom Power. It also means you could finish on the epic 'Slow Life', which would be a better closer than 'Blerwytirhwng?'.
ii) 'Blerwytihrhwng?'. Why? It's a pretty cool song and the ending is beautifully weird, if overstretched, but it was never really a single; just something from the B-sides album. 'Smokin'' should be there instead - it's on the DVD, after all - 'cos it was on the Ice Hockey Hair EP so has more of a mandate as a single. Better song too.
iii) 'The Man Don't Give A F***' is only included as a Radio Edit and not the full 22-minute live version I saw in Hammersmith. Shame, but I suppose it has to be that way for new fans picking up a Best Of. Which makes me reiterate the bizarre inclusion of 'Blerwytihrhwng?'.
I suppose that's kinda it. INCREDIBLE BAND, BRILLIANT ALBUM, GET IT. Don't stop there though - they're an albums band, so make sure you own them all! Especially Radiator and Rings Around The World.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 7 October 2004
Every tune a classic, I don't know of any other band who have constantly reinvented themselves so superbly well.
Each studio album is well worth purchasing individually, however this compilation is a good starting place for the uninitiated (then go and buy all the studio albums).
Go and see them live, grow your hair like an afghan hound, learn to believe in the power of SFA - you're life will never be the same again!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 5 October 2004
In my opinion, the Super Furry Animals, who are one of my favourite bands, have never quite made that classic album which they first promised to.
There is no denying the quality and quirkiness of the music they have produced over the last decade though, and this singles collection is testamount to this.
From the first singles to the the present day there is something for all fans of quality rock/pop.
If you haven't purchased any of the SFA albums this is an ideal way to get into the group.
The collection is comprehensive and I thoroughly recommend it to all music fans.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 11 September 2008
The Super Furry Animals were one of the most prolific singles acts of the late 90's and 00's. Despite never hitting the top 10 they scored an impressive 17 top 40 UK hits and enjoyed a string of big selling albums (Rings Around The World made no. 3). A fanatic fan base and reputation as an explosive and hugely original live act also helped to make the Welsh Wizards one of the biggest alternative pop/rock groups for over a decade.
This singles compilation does exactly what you'd expect - compiling all the hits - not in chronological order but simply to make a great listen - and is further proof that SFA were streets ahead of the majority of their Brit-Pop contemporaries.
There is so much intelligence, wit, musical inventiveness and, at times, madness that to compare them to the likes of Suede, Oasis or Dodgy (who were the competion) seems almost trite.
There seems to be no genre that SFA were unafraid to tackle - 'Hello Sunshine' is stacked with glorious Beachboys harmonies, 'Something For The Weekend' and 'Hometown Unicorn' outBlur Blur, 'Juxtaposed With U' is smooth Philly Soul and the spritely 'Northern Lites' skips along on a faux Carabbian rhythm. They even had a stab at ELO pomp with 'Drawing Rings Around The World' and Glitter stomp - 'Golden Retriever'.
This willingness to experiment, sometimest at the cost of melody and structure, would prove the bands achille's heel in reaching out to a wider audience. When they played it straighter however, as on the gorgeous ballad 'Demons' or the driving synth lead 'Play it Cool' the boys from the valleys were untouchable. Challenging but never less than entertaining.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 4 July 2006
Songbook is a singles compilation by one of the best bands of the last 10 years. Still successfully underground and cultish yet melodic and accessible, it is a perfect introduction to the weird and wonderful world of the Super Furry Animals.
Far more ambitious than most of their original Britpop peers, SFA's sound ranges from pseudo heavy metal (Golden Retriever) and garage rock (The International Language Of Screaming) to lush balladry (Juxtaposed With U) and techno (Slow Life) though all with serious lashings of psychedelia and superb Beach Boys-type harmonies. This trippyness extends to their rather stoned lyrics covering such unusual themes as international telecommunications (the superb ELO-influenced Rings Around The World) and Einstein's parents (Hermann Loves Pauline).
The highlights are too numerous to mention with all of the aforementioned songs being excellent as well as the catchy calypso-influenced Northern Lites, melodic guitar-led Ice Hockey Hair and early narcotic thrash of Something For The Weekend. Also included is The Man Don't Give A F***, SFA's tribute to a former Welsh rugby player which serves as a traditional 10 minute, crowd participating encore at their gigs.
Songbook includes most of the best songs that Super Furry Animals have released in their first nine recording years. An essential purchase or introduction to this great band which can be followed by excellent SFA studio LPs such as Radiator and Rings Around The World.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 4 October 2004
I'm always a little cynical of 'best ofs' or 'singles collections'. Best ofs are usually badly compiled point missing misnomers and singles collections can often be a little more than a chronological collection of hits with a few pointless 'new recordings' or remixes in place of essential rarities ans oddities.
This, however is a real gem & an essential purchase for anyone who treasures the giddy buzz of genre defying eccentric guitar music (I hate to use the terms 'indie' or 'pop' but then again 'guitar music' is a similarly shallow pidgeon-hole). But call it what you will - space pop, garage glam rock or new wave acid folk, it's all here & it's certainly one of the most complete & flawless collections in many a years.
Although the Super Furries have produced at least three essential long players (Fuzzy Logic, Radiator & Mwng), I've always seen them as one of the last truly great singles band of the 90s & this is perhaps the defining factor of why this 'singles' collection scrapes it's shaggy wayward head above the rest and more recent dissapointments. Where The Primals' boring & predictable major-label Xmas-rush collection Dirty Hits completely neglected the first phase of the band's career (instead check out the Jap-only More Dirty Hits) and The Supergrass & Suede comps were marred by under-average 'new' tunes, Songbook does what it says on the box.
What you get is every single piece of 45 playing plastic that SFA have issued and that includes non-album singles (The Man Dont Give A F**k), rarer early singles (Something 4 The Weekend, Hometown Unicorn) & a track each from their 2 early pre-Creation EPs - Llanfair.....in Space & Moog Droog. Which is great going & especially gracious of Epic who could have quite happily missed off some of the Welsh language tracks in favour of more stuff from Rings Around The World & Phantom Power. But, this CD definately has the positive aroma of 'band intervention' about it & does utter utter justice as a result. In fact, I am completely grateful to this compilation for making me change my mind about Juxtaposed With U, It's Not The End Of The World & Northern Lites which I honestly couldn't stand in their album settings but presented here amidst this bizarre cooking pot of oddness seem somehow much more satisfying and relevant.
All in all an unbelievable testament to a one-off musical enigma!
Altogether now -
"Whatever you have to do, do it now and pay later!...."
on 17 August 2007
I Looked through my archives of old vids and discovered that my love for Uk music had meant that i had taped SFA Tracks for years without realising or bothering to notice who they were.In 2005 i put together a mix of the best of Uk music and wanted to top it up with all the 4 Countries.What about those welsh geezers,Super furry something somethings.So off we go and find any old vid and it was called Rings around the World.Wow what a track what a band,i still ignored the band though.A Slight interest in Juxtapozed with U as it seemed interesting.A Few months later i watch a film called Snow Cake and sadly when the Girl dies in the film they play a track called Hello Sunshine by,you guessed it,SFA.Isn`t that the Welsh band again i ask myself,not sure sounds superb though ok and on we go.The brain does some overtime and gets a slight connection so why not try a best of albums and so i purchase Songbook the singles and wow what an album or cd/dvd as we call it these days.I Love this album with a passion but alas,it is played for a while and put in with the other cds.June 2007 the first band on the second stage as i sit ready to watch Glastonbury is of course SFA.We now have the audio the visual and the very much Live SFA.This Completes the Jigsaw and in the last 2 Months i have been completely obsessed with the Band and cannot purchase enough of this Band.I Am so lucky that i have 10 years or more of Ignorance to make up for.The Round House London in November will complete the Brilliance.I Also have an obsessed 3 Year Old that plays his drums and air Guitar to a band that he asks me to play all the time,Stop,,,,,, Said the Puppy is his favourite words.I Love it when he says i want Receptacle for the Respectable and as you can imagine a three year is so funny when he tries to say that.We had another drum and guitar jam to the Gateway Song today.From 3 Years old to very old i can only say that we are Huge fans of the SFA Animals and Songbook played a major part in our new Day To Day Love Of The Genius of SFA,Try it you will not be Disappointed at all ............... What A Band
on 16 August 2012
sorry but your just not a fan of music unless you have at least one SFA album in your collection ,and what better place to start than the singles collection ,this album is one of the best showcasing a band that are ever evolving not afraid to experiment in different genres and styles ,from thier early creation days to thier radio two mainstays of today .A truly fabulous body of work from a truly fabulous band ,so many great tracks its hard to pick a fave but Hello sunshine has to be the greatest number one single that never was (It should be noted the band turned down £2000000 and the chance to have this track on a coca cola TV advert in protest at the multinationals treatment of south american workers).Had this album years will never tire of it ,check out any of thier other real album too masterpieces one and all