In February of ’96, Super Furry Animals swam through the Britpop-infested waters of the UK charts to land with their first single, ‘Hometown Unicorn’ – the first of a string of singles from their masterful debut, ‘Fuzzy Logic’. Twenty years on, the band celebrate their critically-acclaimed arrival with a two-disc reissue featuring the original album, B-sides and rarities.
‘Fuzzy Logic’ represents the primordial soup of what would later become the Furries‘ sound. It’s a not-quite-polished diamond, which is nevertheless remarkable in its own right. The album stands out from its successors, in that it has that pure, unadulterated rawness typically associated with debuts. Yet, amongst that rawness, there are numerous nuggets of lyrical and sonic brilliance available to the listener.
The opener, ‘God! Show Me Magic’, blows the door clean off its hinges early on, bursting in with punk-like energy in a 1:50 long apéritif in preparation for the veritable feast of musical delights to come.
Despite the ferocity and speed of the opener, the album is actually remarkably well-paced. Indeed, there are number of other, more driven tracks – though none quite match the energy of the opener – but there are also more time-spent, dreamy numbers. ‘Gathering Moss’ is a prime example. Reverb-soaked and texturally rich, the song showcases a slower, more ballad-like approach. Or, as the song states, “idly gathering moss”.
Lyrically, ‘Fuzzy Logic’ leaves no stone unturned, with themes ranging from alien abductee Frankie Fontaine to a chance encounter with notorious weed-smuggler Howard Marks and the guy from Sparks (Ron Mael). There’s also the very vivid image-conjury of ‘Mario Man’ in which singer Gruff Rhys “bought [himself] a chip pan and [he] sailed it to the Isle of Man for a holiday” – a lyric so nonsensical, it would make Bowie proud.
Without a doubt, however, the standout single from the album has to be ‘Something 4 the Weekend’. With its infectiously catchy sing-a-long chorus, this number alone would be enough to lure any prospective listener to the delights of ‘Fuzzy Logic’, with the album version offering a livelier alternative to the slower, more mellowed-out single version.
Overall, ‘Fuzzy Logic’ is a titillating carousel of musical titbits, with its strength lying in its diversity and relistenability. There’s so much on offer: lyrics ranging from the poignant to the more ridiculous, brilliantly catchy hooks, Beach Boys-esque departures and incredible arrangements, with each playthrough bringing something fresh to the ears.
It’s perhaps fair to say that it doesn’t flow as well as its successor, ‘Radiator’ – fan favourite and arguably more well-rounded album – but the Furries‘ first effort is nevertheless a classic, and essential listening for anyone looking for an introduction to the band.
To accompany the album’s reissue, Super Furry Animals are doing a UK November/December tour playing the album in its entirety back-to-back along with the previously-mentioned follow-up, ‘Radiator’.