Waterloo Records

Rings Around the World
Artist: Super Furry Animals
Format: CD
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Formats and Editions


It was at around the point where “No Sympathy,” one of the many multipartitesongs on Welsh band Super Furry Animals’s fourth album, turned from a Genesis-esquephantom-pop number into a zig-zagging toy-drum & bass freak-out that I finallylost my patience. “Just do something already, will you?” I yelledat the CD player. “Quit not-quite-doing 80 things at once!”

“Oh well—it’s not the end of the world,” as lead AnimalGruff Rhys sings on the song of the same name. Instead, it’s just anotherexample of this album’s colossal ambition. Mixed in 5.1 stereo surroundsound, available on DVD with a video for and remixes of each song, the banddeserve credit for attempting to stretch their major label budget to its maximumcapacity.

What’s in question, though, is the album at the core of all these toys,and if you can get past the overwhelming whimsy, some of it’s actuallyfairly lovely: the lightly Latinesque “Juxtaposed with You” and thepower-pop title cut, both of which feature Rhys sounding a lot like Elvis Costello.But too often, the music is as convoluted as Costello at his worst—theyrecall the chamber-pop of Imperial Bedroom, only as fussy-busy as Spike.This is something you might well guess from looking at trying-too-hard, clever-clevertitles like “Shoot Doris Day,” “(A) Touch Sensitive,” and“Receptacle for the Respectable,” the latter of which features ha-ha-funnydeath metal voices, just in case you didn’t believe these guys really arevirtuosos. Just what we need—a really ambitious Jellyfish.
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