Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Good Ship Rediscovery: Super Furry Animals - Fuzzy Logic

We all forget about the older stuff from time to time, in our quest to stay up to speed with the latest and greatest. But one should always respect their elders. So don’t forget about them, y’hear?

Upon telling people the name of this here blog, I am oftentimes asked about said naming nomenclature. Most often, people think it has to do with the mathematical concept, which, I suppose, in a backhanded way it does. That certainly wasn't why I chose the name. However, friends, I'm about to give you a special treat, and relay to you the real, the true, the official story of how and why Fuzzy Logic is Fuzzy Logic.

It all goes back to the year 1996, when first I started listening to the wonderful, wacky, gloriously out of this universe and then some Welsh quintet Super Furry Animals.
As I'm sure you'll recall, lovelies, in the mid-90s your fearless blogette was all about "Britpop" and associated but not really technically Britpop bands. The Furries, as they're affectionately known, probably aren't what you'd consider Britpop, they're much too eccentric and unique for that, but seeing as I first discovered them amongst the pages of the much-missed Select magazine, otherwise known as the Good Word to me, I decided to give them a listen. And I've been listening to the Furries ever since.

Fuzzy Logic was their debut, and I loved, and still do love, everything about it. Even the cover, featuring an assortment of snaps of the notorious cult icon Howard Marks, is quite a thing to behold. My first taste of the record was the dynamic single "Something 4 The Weekend," a cheeky monkey, beyond catchy little song about recreational weekend drug use. In case you're not aware, chemical indulgence is occasionally (often) prominent in Furryland. When I tore myself away from the single, it was time to give the whole album a good listening to, as you do. Just on the off chance you don't already own this record, let's go through and go over why exactly you might want to rethink.

Fuzzy Logic opens with the chunky, wait for it...fuzzy onslaught of guitars, enthusiastic yelping, and a tone of saucy braggadacio that is "God! Show Me Magic." As with most songs of the Super Furry variety, it offers a strong sense of mischief. "Hamster/turning round in your wheel/I've got something to tell you," begins Gruff Rhys as the opening strains of "Fuzzy Birds" make their way languidly into your ears. I often think the Furries might be the sonic equivalent of the most absurd Ogden Nash poem you could possibly think of. And that, darlings, is quite a compliment.

"Frisbee" is one of my absolute favorites, full of those crushing guitars, a chorus of crazy, owl-like "oooohs," and the lovely Welsh accent of Mr. Rhys (ladies, you haven't lived until you've heard him sing in Welsh - trust me). "Hometown Unicorn" is a leisurely, rolling trip of a ditty, irrepressible to the last note. I love the melancholia that the Super Furries added to Fuzzy Logic. In "Gathering Moss," we hear the tale of a what could very well be a relationship gone stale ("you and me are idly gathering moss") with a backdrop of cosmic oompah. Immediately following "Gathering Moss" is the even more beautifully sad "If You Don't Want Me To Destroy You," grand in both scale and in its slow, dignified moroseness.

And then it's back into the realms of the truly rocking, with the Furry pop stylings of "Bad Behaviour" (and yes, I borrowed that name, too!). "Bad behaviour/was my saviour," sings Rhys, and who am I to argue with such a spectacular sentiment? With the catchiness on full throttle in the chorus ("bad/bad/bad bad behav-i-our") the guitars wail away, creating a wave of fuzz amongst all that confectionary goodness. It all gets unhinged at the end, melting in a fabulous noisy mess. "Mario Man" feels like the 70s run through a Welsh dreamland parallel universe portal, the groove swept into the eye of the storm of strange.

"Hangin With Howard Marks" is another of the record's most triumphant moments, in my humble yet firm opinion. Those guitars alone are not a drop shy of fuzzy pomp and circumstance, and crafting a sonic shoutout to a figure cut so notoriously as Mr. Marks gave the boys street cred galore. Well, in certain circles of course. I suppose people unaware of the Marksian exploits are reading this with a furrowed brow. In any case, the song is splendid and a half. Listen and love, my little black sheep. "Long Gone" is rather repetitive, lyrically-speaking, but musically bounces all over the place, equally gentle and lovely and louder and slightly rambunctious. The record comes to a close with the retro-wrapped "For Now and Ever," all big guitars and a congenial, cutesy sway.

So there you have it, the many, many, many reasons I love Fuzzy Logic, and why I had no choice but to snatch the name for myself, in humble tribute to the masters of the wacky universe I've loved for so very many years now. It's a classic record from that era, and to me Fuzzy Logic sounds as good now as it did all the way back in 1996. Please do go forth (right now) and experience the world of SFA for yourselves.

m4a: Hangin' With Howard Marks (Super Furry Animals from Fuzzy Logic)

m4a: Frisbee (Super Furry Animals from Fuzzy Logic)

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