- Vinyl: Heavyweight 180g 2LP with Pop-Up Gatefold Artwork
- CD: 2CD
- Label: BMG
Two decades on, Super Furry Animals remaster and reissue their third album on deluxe double vinyl and CD, including another deep dive into their vault of rarities.
“It’s a record that provides the precise definition of nu psychedelia, offering an acid-fried, quadrophonic vision of rock’n’roll for the summer ahead” – NME
‘Popping out’ on glorious gatefold-edition vinyl and a CD version featuring no fewer than 20 unreleased rarities, Super Furry Animals celebrate the 20th anniversary of their third album, Guerrilla, by reliving every moment in a deluxe, remastered reissue. Out on Fri 1 November 2019 on BMG, the album tells the irresistible story of the now legendary band reaching for throwaway pop perfection in a big-budget studio, only to find fertile ground for new levels of experimentation.
Meticulous foraging through miles of tape, digital recordings and tracks stored on now obsolete formats by Furries archivist, Kliph Scurlock has resulted in a painstakingly reassembled album with the band’s mastering guru, Donal Whelan applying the finishing touches. What has emerged is not only a refreshed version faithful to the band’s vision, taken from the original tapes to high 96k resolution but one lavishly packaged in the original artwork devised by long-time friend of the Furries and visionary image-maker, Pete Fowler. The original, die-cut, ‘pop up’ gatefold artwork houses the heavyweight, double vinyl edition, pressed from the highest tape resolution rather than the original, low CD quality of the 1999 version.
Sleeve notes by both Creation Records founder, Alan McGee and band biographer, Ric Rawlins offer insights into the conditions that cultivated Guerrilla and how it further cemented the band’s singular status in rock, indie and pop music.
Originally released on Mon 14 June 1999, Guerrilla was recorded at Peter Gabriel’s Real World studios in Box, Wiltshire during summer 1998, uprooting the band not only from their native Wales to record for the first time, but also from the oversight of Gorwel Owen, the producer of Fuzzy Logic and Radiator. With a bigger budget from Creation and choosing to self-produce the album with studio wingman/engineer, Michael Brennan, in rural splendour, the band determinedly set about making an upbeat, pop record that would deliver a punch inside 45 minutes. What actually emerged was a kaleidoscopic and indefinable gathering of vibrant songs that, while brimming with intended positivity, embraced accidental studio discoveries, missteps in the recording process and a new sense of democracy as the band shared production duties.
The sense of mutual, expanded responsibility and creativity extended to instrument swapping, such as Guto Pryce, otherwise on bass, sampling Hawaiian guitar and synth-maestro, Cian Ciarán stepping up to the steel drums.
Featuring two hidden tracks, Citizen’s Band (inspired by Gruff’s experiences during the 1980’s CB radio craze in remote North Wales) coming in before the official opener, Check It Out, and Chewing Chewing Gum (Reprise) sitting in the gap after the ‘closing’ glam-rock stomp of Keep The Cosmic Trigger Happy, Super Furry Animals were found to be in playful mood. Their selection of singles offered a potent, at-a-glance guide of the band’s career-spanning sounds, with Northern Lites’ (No.11, UK Singles Chart) poppy, steel drum-infused calypso foretelling the unashamed, hit-making approach that would follow them into 2001’s Rings Around The World and 2003’s Phantom Power. At the same time, gentle acoustic ballad, Fire In My Heart (No.25, UK Singles Chart) and punky, gobbledygook third single, Do Or Die (No.20, UK Singles Chart) shared the charming, naïve immediacy of their debut, Fuzzy Logic and it’s follow-up Radiator.
Constantly casting their gaze into the future, Wherever I Lay My Phone (That’s My Home) foretold of iPhone dominance in the age when heavyweight, low-tech Nokias ruled the world, taking rhythmic cues from one of the band’s mobile ring tones and the sampled sound of guitarist, Huw ‘Bunf’ Bunford tripping over a lead. For every attempt made at a pop song, there was a The Sound Of Life Today, an interlude formed of 22 seconds of the tender, yet warped eighth track, Some Things Come From Nothing, being played backwards. Electricity also pulses obviously through the record, with Ciarán’s growing assemblage of gadgetry forming a studio within a studio at Real World, casting bleeps and wailing circuits across the album more liberally than had been heard on earlier recordings.
Guerrilla, widely acclaimed by critics upon release, including growing attention amongst US-based publications, and still a firm favourite of many Furries fans, was correctly titled as the band retained outsider status as a band of adventurous visionaries that, intentionally or not, had succeeded in side-stepping the mainstream once more.
A band statement ahead of the release says:
“Super Furry Animals have fond memories of ‘Guerrilla’ and our time experimenting in the English countryside, passing Peter Gabriel on the corridor on the way to the kitchen and finding our way around a mixing desk. Our optimism, one of a hopeful pre-millennium era, was captured on this record and it’s a sensation we’re only too happy to share in once again during more turbulent times for our planet.”
2LP 180g Gatefold Vinyl & CD1
1. Check It Out
2. Do Or Die
3. The Turning Tide
4. Northern Lites
5. Night Vision
6. Wherever I Lay My Phone (That’s My Home)
7. A Specific Ocean
8. Some Things Come From Nothing
9. The Door To This House Remains Open
10. The Teacher
11. Fire In My Heart
12. The Sound Of Life Today
13. Chewing Chewing Gum
14. Keep The Cosmic Trigger Happy
B-Sides (CD1 Only)
15. Rabid Dog
16. The Matter Of Time
17. Mrs. Spector
18. Missunderstanding (sic)
20. This, That And The Other
CD2: My Eyes Began To Grow Into Telescopes (Previously Unreleased)
Big Noise Demos (January 1998)
1. The Turning Tide
2. Hand In Hand
5. The Teacher
6. Keep The Cosmic Trigger Happy
Ewloe Demos (March 1998)
7. The Turning Tide
8. Northern Lites
9. Fire In My Heart
11. Rabid Dog
12. Do Or Die
13. The Matter Of Time
14. Wherever I Lay My Phone (That’s My Home)
The Making Of Guerrilla
15. Check It Out (Rough Mix)
16. Y Teimlad (Rough Mix)
17. John Spex (Unfinished, Rough Mix)
18. Cowboy (Unfinished, Rough Mix)
19. Cian & Bunf (Final Mix)
20. DX Heaven (Final Mix)
The Super Furry Animals were and remain the multi-instrumental Huw Bunford,Cian Ciarán, Daf Ieuan, Guto Pryce and Gruff Rhys.