The great pop artist Andy Warhol once said “I like boring things. I like things to remain the same over and over again.” Warhol wouldn’t have liked Guerrilla (Flydaddy), the latest effort from Welsh rockers Super Furry Animals. This album doesn’t stay the same, and it is far from boring.
A big trend for bands from Britain is to take an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink approach to making music. Super Furry Animals has been doing this longer than most bands and does it better too. While most bands who try this approach sound like they are searching for a style that will work, Super Furry Animals makes wildly different styles come together smoothly in its albums and songs.
Guerrilla starts out with the teasing track, “Check It Out.” A whispering voice repeats the title while a slowly evolving ambient melody plays in the background. It sounds as if the band is hiding in a dark corner, motioning you to come over. The song then blends into the energy-filled “Do Or Die,” which is crammed with powerful guitar riffs and techno bleeps. Super Furry Animals makes this mix work well, blending the two sounds into one infectious song.
Then the band changes direction again with the beautiful “The Turning Tide.” The song, which resembles a cross between early David Bowie and early Pink Floyd, fits perfectly with singer Gruff Rhys’ high-pitched voice.
Although Rhys’ voice is ideal for ballads, Super Furry Animals rarely makes songs like “The Turning Tide.” The following track immediately returns to the faster beat. “Northern Lights” embodies a calypso sound with its brass section and steal drums.
Super Furry Animals zigzags between different sounds throughout the album, changing sound on whims. “Night Vision,” with its bubble-gum rock and fuzzy guitars, goes into “Wherever I Lay My Phone Is Home.” This track can best be described as techno-rap, and even that description doesn’t aptly categorize the sound.
Super Furry Animals’ strong point is making music, not writing lyrics: “I got mobile phone/I got mobile phone/Wherever I lay my phone is home/I got mobile phone.” The other complaint about the album is that it lacks real songs. Many of the tracks listed are music interludes that last less than a minute and serve as transitions to songs. Some of the brief pieces, such as “A Specific Ocean,” have a neat sound and would have made amazing tracks. Still, Guerrilla radiates a sense of pure fun that you can’t ignore.