on 6 August 2001
Having never bought any Super Furry's albums before, I bought this one with a great deal of thought, as usually it takes me a while to break into differant styles of music. And the furrys have their own individual style. On first listen, I was still a little unsure, until the album got to Run Christian Run, that is. This song is an incredible opus, composed with swirling guitars and vocals, and (if you own the special DvD edition of the album) a thought provocing and opinionated promo video. Its an incredible song, and it makes you go back and listen to all the other tracks and realise how fantastic they are too. Juxtaposed with you, Presidential Suite, Rings Around the World, they are all worthy of a single release. There arent really any weak songs on this album, but then again if you are expecting belting prog rock anthems aka Muse, dont bother. This albums beauty is the way it draws the listener in and makes them think and feel the lyrics and melody. A stunning effort.
on 8 July 2003
This album is the first I've heard from the Furries and to be honest, I need not hear any more. It can't get any better. A happy-slappy mix of all genres of music makes this album one the best for a long time. Stretching from the bass-filled Rings Around The World to the magnificent, if not bizarre, ending to No Sympathy, the sarcasm and apathetic look at life around these Welsh Wonders make this an album well worth at least several listenings.
on 27 July 2008
Summer 2001. I had fallen in love with SFA long ago. But this happened to be the first release I had got on release day (have got every one ever since). I was in the middle of my GCSE exams. I got up early and waited outside HMV from around 8.45 to purchase the CD and DVD. I think this album changed my life. I knew this band were special but I didn't realise every song on this album would stir every emotion in me. I will never forget the summer of 2001. I left school. I heard one of the best albums ever. Buy it, Just buy it. Listen to it. It may take a few listens but you will cherish it for life. Believe me. It is one of the best and most adventurous albums EVER. Impossible to define a genre. Thank you. And trust me.
on 31 March 2014
I've had this album since release, one of those indispensable friends whose absence makes your collection incomplete. Updating from vinyl meant a recent cd purchase and inspiration to review. This is an album that wears its influences on its sleeve yet is not derivative, it is inspired and the result is uniquely SFA. A variety of styles but sounding like the same band throughout, rather than a straightforward review I thought it may be helpful to offer an idea of the feel of each track.
1. Alternate Route To Vulcan Street - Protection era Massive attack on Mogadon.
2.Sidewalk Surfer Girl - Very evocative of Mercury Rev/Flaming Lips.
3.(Drawing) Rings Around The World - Forget the insulting Quo comparisons, think 'Silver Machine' era Hawkwind with a harmony vocal arrangement by Brian Wilson.
4. The World ..... - Beautiful in a Walker Brothers way,60's pop bass guitar and a vehicle for Gruff's under rated vocals.
5. Receptacle For The Respectable - The Beatles at every stage of their career with perhaps a greater 'Norwegian Wood' emphasis and a dash of ELO's 'Mr Blue Sky'.
6.(A) Touch Sensitive - Portishead with the John Barry influence turned up high. Analogue other worldliness.
7. Shoot Doris Day - Epic orchestral with a Radiohead - 'Karma Police' feel.
8.Miniature - A lullaby for The Clangers. Expectedly brief.
9.No Sympathy - A 'Peggy Suicide' era Julian Cope feel.
10.Juxtaposed With You - Robot rhumba.
11. Presidential Suite - Easy Listening Burt Bacharach vibe.
12.Run! Christian, Run! - Cowboy campfire blues meets 'For Your Pleasure' era Roxy Music.
13. Fragile Happiness - A mini 'Hey Jude'.
Very much a complete work best appreciated from start to finish, a great entre into the SFA world guaranteed to have you chomping at the bit for more.
on 9 August 2005
I really don't see what the problem is. Reading the customer reviews of this album and the other SFA albums, a lot of people seem to think that Rings Around the World is an over-produced highly flawed piece of....this warranted cries of "were you listening to the same album as me?"
Ok, it was the first SFA album I ever heard, that might have altered my perception somewhat. Still, I find it quite hard to determine exactly what people find so wrong about this album. The highly chilled opener, "Alternative Route to Vulcan Street", is gorgeous, a showcase of their now trademark quirkiness...which gives way to the equally brilliant "Sidewalk Serfer Girl", a perfect pop song with thrash metal injections.
Positively bursting with genius, the album's full of glorious moments that I found extremely refreshing on first listen. At this point the most avant-garde CD in my collection was Travis's Invisible Band. Simply put, this was unlike anything I'd ever heard before. "No Sympathy" shocked me the most....glorious, glorious sunny pop music that gives way to an insane techno freakout....
Then there's the lush "Juxtaposed with U", the wonderful "Run Christian Run" and the menacing "Touch Sensitive"....A great album, tomorrow's classic rock....today.
on 5 June 2007
I absolutely love the Super Furries. They're light hearted, they defy labeling and, well, they make really cool music. This album is the best they have produced I believe, and I write this after the release of Phantom Power and Love Kraft. It has all the elements that drew me to their other albums, but somehow everything seems so much more complete here.
It is hard to pick a favourite track because the record works really well as a whole. The title track is a real feel good pop masterpiece, complete with the final repeated phrase of "Ring, ring, ring, ring, rings around the world", reminiscent of "Something for the Weekend", and perfect infectious pop. Then there's "Receptical for the Respectable" which starts as a simple cheery enough song, but gets heavier and heavier before building into a head banging rant. "No sympathy" is similar, although its catchy guitar riff builds into a high speed techno master class. As the record progresses it becomes more chilled out with "Juxtaposed", a wonderfully relaxed and easy going love song. Then we move to the bittersweet "Run, Chrisitan, Run", with its brooding verses about men holding knives to the thorats of women and children, but the music is mellow enough with the chorus offering the safety of heaven.
Lyrically it is as nonsensical but brilliant as the Super Furries can be. With "No Sympathy" Griff Rhys can be heard to sing "I have no sympathy for you, you deserve to die". This frankly bleak and aggressive outlook is then massively contrasted in juxtaposed which proclaims "I'm not in love with you but I won't hold that against you". "Its not the end of the World" offers similar promise with the lines: "Turn all the hate in the world, into a mocking bird, make it fly away."
The real joy here is the diversity. They are story tellers with Side Walk Surfer Girl, Techno kids on the short "Minature", cheeky political satirists on "Presidential Suite". Throughout they show a real understanding of pop sensibilities and what makes a good song, whilst remaining experimental, edgy and fun.
In short, there is no real reason not to own this record.
on 14 August 2001
Few bands these days build up a back catalogue that sounds like a musical journey rather than a bunch of singles plus filler tracks that might have a new gimmick if you're lucky. This is a band that couldn't do anything of the sort. I would say SFA's new adventure in hi-fi (after the low key pop oddessy of the welsh language treasure Mwng) is a consolidation of the sound of Guerilla, if I could work out what that is, for this is a band that elude easy classification like... a very elusive thing.
The band are in their element here, adeptly (and enjoyably) traversing the genres like there's no tomorrow, and though the result is their most polished work to date, perhaps it's best to remember that this is hardly what made them so great in the first place. When occasionally their lyrics are uncharacteristically dark (No Sympathy), preachy (Run Christian Run) or obvious (Presidential Suite- the whole Clinton thing is so 1999!) their pop sensibilities come to the rescue, the electro-country climax of Run Christian Run in particular is a highlight of a finely produced record.
Elsewhere, Fragile Happiness plucks heart strings that other bands fail to reach, Juxtaposed With You is still the best pop song this summer never knew it had, and the title track does indeed resemble the (ahem) mighty Status Quo, but in a good way.
Perhaps the song that best sums up the album, though, is Receptacle for the Respectable the bands answer to Radiohead's Paranoid Android perhaps, that combines bitter sweet lyrics and a carefree melody, then ditches it all closing with a heavy metal assault, along the way featuring a rather famous ex-Beatle crunching carrotts and celery. What a band!
on 15 February 2002
I was pretty worried when I heard that my beloved Furries were heading over to Epic having left Creation. Major labels probably don't take to kindly to albums like the how-many-different-song-styles-can-we-fit-into-one-song of "Guerrilla", or turning up to festivals in tanks, or with inflatable bears, or recording albums in Welsh...(need I go on?).
Yep, for a second there I almost expected.....oh my...conformity (yuck!).
So, its just as well the Furries decided instead to make their most ambitious and inventive album so far! Not only that though, they decided to couple it with their best selection of tunes!
Picking a highlight out of the selection here is nearly impossible - you have the great single "(Drawing) Rings Around The World" ("fancy doing the Beach Boys lads?", "yeah, why not!") and the absolutely superb "Sidewalk Sufer Girl" (best bit, when Gruff sings "sooooooometimessss.."). The melodies in this album are just wonderful, and wipe the floor with the majority of other bands currently kicking around right now.
Whilst "Radiator" and "Guerrilla" were both equally enjoyable albums, the sheer quality of ideas and songs on this album makes it their best piece to date.
Long may they continue to do unconventional things within such a conventional format as the Pop Song. "Rings..." is just fantastic!
on 22 September 2001
I bought this feeling a little skeptical, I'd never really heard that much of the Furries, and the mercury hype made me cynical. On my first listen (through headphones- essential since this is at times surprisingly subtle) I was absolutely blown away. This is undoubtedly the best pop albumn since Radiohead gave up doing what they did best and tried to compete with the avant garde. Like OK Computer this is a perfect combination of studio technique, pop history literacy, and above all musical intuition. After listening to this it was no surprise to hear that the band began as a techno outfit, much here suggests the furries could compete alongside the outputs of Warp and Braindance on the level of innovative electronica. In addition the Furries have the inimitable pop art knack of taking the junk music of the century and reassembling it so as to provide a fresh perspective; single "Juxtaposed with you" is ostensably an updated late 60s/ 70s love song, yet lyrically it describes the tensions of living in todays stress ridden and depersonalised society, demonstrating the shifted concerns of our age and our distance from the 60's and 70's Amazing
on 4 July 2001
Wow the super furies are back and how. Rings around the World is definitely their best album to date. They have taken the Sony dollar (or Yen) and spent it all very wisely, they have even made a DVD!.
The album starts off in a strangely quite way with the slow "Last exit to Vulcan st." This is a welcome change from the usual kop out of boringly putting the big single first. The pace is soon upped for the rest of the album with the great "Sidewalk serfer girl". Other highlights include "Receptacle for the respectable" - virtually three songs in one, "Its not the end of the world" and of course slapped near the end at track 10 the brilliant first single "Juxtapozed with u".
Its hard not to pick out all the tracks they are that good. Each song is just crammed full wonderful melodies. I can only say you must buy this album. Super furry animals have made their masterpiece. Album of the year and its only July!