God I’m feeling old. There seems to be a spate of albums being reissued lately that I loved 20 years ago. Like Fun Lovin Criminals Come Find Yourself (last year), Radiohead’s OK Computer and now the Super Furry Animals Radiator has been re-released (originally released August 1997) as a 20th Anniversary Deluxe Edition. Back then I lived in my hometown of Cardiff (where they formed) and saw them outside the town hall at a festival in 1996. But hey I’m glad they’re still around now making me feel young and old simultaneously. It’s music to my (Welsh) ears.
Their first album Fuzzy Logic (1996) received critical acclaim, albeit slowly. It wasn’t till the track Something for the Weekend was released that it gathered more momentum. The music press loved them and thought them far superior to their peers of the Britpop era. When Radiator came out it sold faster reaching number 8. They were thought, on its release as being a band not afraid to come out of their comfort zone and experiment with sounds. Hermann Loves Pauline was released as a single (just before the album) getting to number 24 in the charts and first featuring the wonderful cartoon artwork of Pete Fowler and his monster creations, the song being about Einstein’s parents and the young Einstein!
The band have dug deep into their musical trove of rarities to mark the album’s anniversary. The re-released album is deluxe with remastered versions with fuller sounding production. It’s great to hear Demons again and She’s Got Spies is happy, thrashy guitar pop. The edition contains 2 CD plus 2 VINYL versions and includes a bonus disc of demos recorded in Big Noise Studios, Cardiff in December 1996. These were the sessions that were recorded prior to the sessions that would become Radiator and is available on CD only. It also contains the ICE HOCKEY HAIR E.P. (CD ONLY) and B SIDES (CD ONLY).
Interestingly and weirdly The Smiths ‘The Boy With The Thorn In His Side’ gets a Furry “makeover” in their own version of the classic, originally recorded for a French magazine’s cover mount CD in the late 90s which was never released until now. Recorded at the time of Radiator’s release the full version is eight minutes long and is as far from the Smiths version as is possible. Think 90s psychedelic rave and Welsh voiceovers and you’ll get an idea!
Gruff Rhys says of the unearthed track: “…I can’t remember why it didn’t get released, but am glad it hasn’t been lost forever and Furries, perhaps even Smiths fans, can now make their own mind up on how it compares to the original.”
There’s a lot to remember and enjoy here and whether you’re revisiting your Furry past or discovering them for the furst (I’m sorry!) time there’s load to explore here in this unique and risk-taking band.