Super Furry Animals

Super Furry Animals

Rings Around the World

XL Recordings / Beggars Group

In their near ten year history, the Welsh group Super Furry Animals have reaped accolades for their dense pop sound, electronic artifacts and beat backbone. Their latest, Rings Around the World is an ambitious work spanning two CDs and a myriad of textures and influences. From the baroque and stately “Alternate Route to Vulcan Street” or the crush of “Sidewalk Serfer Girl,” SFA sounds at home lounging in a hammock strung between a Beach Boys tree on one side, The Chemical Brothers on the other. Cynical and witty, such as on the Paul McCartney-assisted “Receptacle For the Respectable” (Paul munched a carrot in time) or the lyrical smack down of “Presidential Suite” (featuring former Velvet Underground mainstay John Cale on piano), the group is literate and challenging, much in the way Radiohead tries, but SFA retains a healthy sense of “what the fuck?” humor — “Shoot Doris Day,” anyone? Balancing as it does between grainy guitars and lush electronica, SFA’s latest shows that all evidence to the contrary, rock and roll is alive and well, at least in Wales. Rings Around the World also shows just how far most of the rest of the scene has to go to catch up. In that way, consider it the Pet Sounds of our new millennium. SFA recordings will be the textbooks of the next generation.

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