Super Furry Animals - Fuzzy Logic

IT'S LIKE this, right: if Ash represent a snuggly mirror image of 'The Kids', spots'n'all, Super Furry Animals have turned into your strange old Uncle Dave. They stare a lot. They tell weird stories - most of them totally made up. They make shriekingly unpleasant noises with synthesisers. They baffle your mates, annoy your dad, get embarrassingly smashed around the Chrimbo dinner table and smell funny. And beneath it all, you secretly want to grow up to be just like them...

Because everyone loves a maverick. Especially ones with bewildered expressions. Take track number eight, 'Bad Behaviour', which roars in like Ike And Tina Turner's 'Nutbush City Limits', fondles a pop-tastic chorus, hangs around with effects of the spacey variety, dallies with one of the most excruciating 'axe' solos heard this side of Pubrockland and goes rattling off into the sunset or some such place where people go to make extremely aggrieved noises with guitars and synths. That the whole song doesn't simply collapse beneath the weight of its own silliness is surely a testament to Super Furry Animals' ear for a tune, not to mention eye for the utterly absurd. Besides, what else would you expect from a band which started out toying with techno, and feature two people who claim to have met on top of a train? Less than a year on from their first live shows (at best, stunning, if you must know) and after two singles on the Welsh-mungous Ankst Records and another brace on Creation, 'Fuzzy Logic' represents the sound of a group merrily charging through their, ooooh, third album at least.

See, debut long-players - particularly those with guitar leanings - rarely come as multi-layered, as lovingly-manipulated as this. Like dozens of other cheeky blighters, Super Furry Animals peel back the decades for inspiration. Crucially, however, the Furries ignore the pious bleatings of the saucy '60s sycophants, because in Super Furry Town, the year is always 1974. Think Wombles! Think bubble gum fumblings! Think vast glam chords, mad pianos and the odd perky flute! Think, 'Cor, they don't write 'em like that anymore... Hang on, they do!!!' as the Furries zip past in a haze of ferocious melodies (see 'Hometown Unicorn', 'Fuzzy Birds' and the storming 'Something For The Weekend'). With the added bonus of '90s drugs, natch.

Even more crucially, the Animals care not for baby-smooth sophistication. Sure, the likes of 'Mario Man' and 'Long Gone' are classy epics in a mournful kind of way, but for the most part this is a record of tough'n'tumble antics; a collection of scrappy, scruffy sonic farragoes with a side order of leering madness; an obstinate, cunning, crafty beast which grabs reality by the throat and rocks its world. So if Super Furry Animals were a film, they would be Trainspotting? Yeah, OK then.

In classic style, 'Fuzzy Logic' closes with the smashingly cheesy 'For Now And Ever', wherein Gruff howls, "We'll be together 'til the end" and the punters hold their SFA scarves aloft and weep a particularly tearful finale. It then ends with what appears to be the BBC sound effects workshop being blown up.

The prog's bollocks.


Simon Williams