Nov 17, 2021
By Hays Davis
“‘Maximalist double album’—that was always the general idea. Something over the top.” That’s how Super Furry Animals singer/guitarist Gruff Rhys describes their 2001 opus Rings Around the World in the notes to its 20th anniversary edition. With the deep-diving hindsight of the three-CD anniversary version, this was a mission that Rhys and company clearly accomplished.
With their creative energies at a peak and a recording budget allowing free reign, Super Furry Animals produced an album that has lost none of its multifaceted appeal over the years. In merely the first three tracks: “Alternative Route to Vulcan Street” leads listeners into the record through a haze of strings to the ratatat guitar/drum punches of the densely layered “Sidewalk Serfer Girl” and the irresistibly catchy rock chug of “(Drawing) Rings Around the World.” And among the multiple sections of “Receptacle for the Respectable,” with its ambitious kinship to Brian Wilson’s glorious studio creations for The Beach Boys, is Paul McCartney’s contribution of veggie-chewing percussion.
The original concept was visual as well, and a DVD was released in 2001 that included videos for each song. While no video content is included on the anniversary release, it’s flush with plenty of audio material tied to Rings. In addition to the original album, the three-disc edition includes an additional 33 tracks including B-sides, session outtakes, demos recorded between 1998-2000, and remixes of every album track.
With Rings Around the World, Super Furry Animals crafted some of their finest melodic rock creations in a we-want-to-give-you-everything spirit. This anniversary edition delivers on that spirit. (www.superfurry.com)
Author rating: 9.5/10
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