Super Furry Animals

Radiator

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Using the psychedelicized prog-punk of Fuzzy Logic as a foundation, Super Furry Animals move even further into left field on their second album, Radiator. As before, the group displays a gift for catchy, deceptively complex melodic hooks, but now its songwriting and arrangements are mind-bogglingly intricate and eclectic. Songs boast intertwining melodies and countermelodies, with guitars and keyboards swirling around the vocals. Similarly, the production is dense and heavy with detail, borrowing heavily from prog rock and psychedelic pop, but pieced together with the invention of techno and played with the energy of punk. It's a heady, impressive kaleidoscope of sounds, but what gives Radiator its weight is the way the sonics complement the songwriting. SFA's songs are melodic, accessible, and utterly original -- melodically, they may borrow from '60s pop, but they rearrange the clich├ęs in fresh ways. Also, Gruff Rhys has a fondness for revolutionary politics and the bizarre that helps give Radiator its intoxicating, otherworldly atmosphere, making it one of the few late-'90s albums that sounds inventive, vibrant, and utterly contemporary.

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