Welsh band Super Furry Animals formed in Cardiff in 1993 with the aim of making techno records. Their music was, in fact, an artful mish-mash of Sixties pop, punk rock, and psychedelia, with an underlying Nineties dance sensibility.
In February 1996, their debut 7″, Hometown Unicorn, became the NME Single of the Week and charted in the Top 50. The follow-up, God! Show Me Magic, charted at #33 and was also NME single of the week.
Arriving completely out of left field, their debut album Fuzzy Logic (May 1996) casually referenced such disparate cultural phenomena as comedian Bill Hicks, drug smuggler Howard Marks, 17th-century scientist Isaac Newton – and the Super Furry Animals’ pet hamster.
The album produced the singles Something 4 the Weekend (#18) and If You Don’t Want Me to Destroy You (#18). The single The Man Don’t Give a Fuck contained the word “fuck” over 50 times and therefore received practically no airplay. It still reached #22 in the charts.
Later that summer, the band invaded the festival circuit in a bright blue tank with a large sound system attached and “If You Don’t Want Me To Destroy You . . .” painted on the gun barrel.
In early 1997, Super Furry Animals completed work on a speedy follow-up to Fuzzy Logic. Two singles preceded the new album – Hermann ♥’s Pauline (#26) in May and The International Language of Screaming (#24) in July. The album, Radiator, was released in August, reaching a chart position of #8.
Two further singles – Play It Cool (September 1997) and Demons (November 1997) – both hit #27 in the charts cementing the band as favourites in the music press, a cut above the majority of their Britpop peers.
Released in May 1998, the Ice Hockey Hair EP is widely held as one of their finest moments. It was followed in November by the album Out Spaced.
NME readers named Super Furry Animals ‘best new band’ in January 1999 (despite the fact it was three years since they had released their debut album) and in May, the single Northern Lites was released and made it to #11.
The album, Guerrilla, took a less guitar-centric approach and was their most experimental work to date. The album swung from glam and garage rock numbers like Night Vision and The Teacher to novelty techno (Wherever I Lay My Phone (That’s My Home)), ambient electronica (Some Things Come From Nothing) and upbeat drum and bass (The Door To This House Remains Open).
In 2010, Super Furry Animals began a break, which became a five-year hiatus. In May 2016 they released their first single in seven years, Bing Bong.
Huw ‘Bunf’ Bunford
Dafydd ‘Daf’ Leuan