Super Furry Animals on their best albums

Gruff Rhys and Huw Bunford take us through their back catalogue

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LOVE KRAFT
(Epic, 2005)
Gorging at Sony’s heaving table, the Furries’ sumptuous seventh found them blissfully adrift from their audience after the greatest hits effort, Songbook: The Singles Vol.1.

Rhys: Love Kraft is the most beautiful record we’ve made. Where some records have had potential to have a cultural impact, like Mwng or Guerrilla, which are of their time in a positive way, I think Love Kraft isn’t. I think it’s a beautiful record, really orchestral and fairly timeless, but it certainly doesn’t fit in any cultural scheme. Sony were dishing out quite a lot of money for us to make really mental records but we were actually spending it on real things; it was amazing in a way. We recorded it in Spain and mixed it in Brazil because our mixer, Mario Caldato Jr [producer for Beastie Boys and Beck, among others], who lives in Brazil, wanted to be close to his family. We had a really good experience with Mario when he mixed Phantom Power and asked him to do the next record and he insisted on doing it in a warm climate because last time he’d come to London in February and the rain. I think we took him to Cardiff for a night out to see Wales play Bosnia in a friendly. He was there in his woolly hat, freezing. Rio was amazing. We were going out to funk bars and really dodgy hip-hop clubs. I bought a hell of a lot of records. Loads of random vinyl. I think they had a big boom in the ’80s of international music in South America where they embraced Phil Collins and The Alarm. There are just mountains of weird ’80s rock records. They stopped making vinyl in 1993.

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HEY VENUS!
(Rough Trade, 2007)
SFA play it straight on their debut for new label Rough Trade, breezing through 11 soulful pop numbers in 37 minutes. Safe, but utterly sound.

Rhys: Rough Trade sort of poached us. With them it’s the most interactive interest we’ve had from a label since Dick Green at Creation. Bit of a shock having people listen to your demos. We left a song off the album and they said, “Why are you not keeping the single on?” Hey Venus! is a straight-up collection of songs. At the same time we recorded 30 improvised songs, and also a lot of harder, groovier music. We were going for a recording of a band playing live, more or less. I suppose we were trying to make some kind of pop record and kept the other stuff for the next album. We have got another batch of songs and I see Hey Venus! as part of a song cycle. In that context it makes sense. With “The Gift That Keeps Giving” we tried to make an AOR Christmas single. Last December we were in Japan, and they celebrate Christmas as a commerical holiday with all the decorations. Over there it’s a love holiday, like Valentine’s Day. And there in one store they had Santa on a cross hanging from the wall. Perfect. So the Christmas single was just an excuse to have Santa on a cross on the cover.

Bunford: Sums up Christmas perfectly.

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