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Super Furry Animals
Rings Around the World
label: epic
released: 07.23.01 (uk)
our score: 3.0 out of 5.0

Around the Rosies
by: peter naldrett - u.k. correspondent

Given the palaver surrounding their latest release, you could be mistaken that Super Furry Animals had all of a sudden gained membership amongst the elite of the rock ‘n’ roll world. Their new album, Rings Around The World, is the first ever to be released simultaneously on traditional audio format and on DVD, with each of the 13 songs having a specially commissioned film for the DVD and with the extra features including website hyperlinks and remixes of the tracks. To top all this off, they have set up small gigs and associated events in a number towns, all going under the name "Furrymania" which is far more like a stunt that Madonna would pull than a Welsh band that have spent years on the outskirts of Rockville.

"I think dazzling technology has become common and people will demand more from their records," says singer Gruff Rhys, clearly believing that the Animals are pioneering a route that all will eventually follow.

But despite all the sideshows and extra features that Super Furry Animals are undoubtedly, and rightly, proud of, the album’s music, as opposed to its videos and web-links, has to be good in own its own right and not carried by the trimmings.

Unfortunately, Rings Around The World will not set the world on fire as it takes too many songs to get warmed up and find a consistency that is other than mundane. Tracks 1-4 are worth ignoring and it is not until the surreal and unpredictably "Receptacle for the Respectable" that a new direction is found. There follows plenty of weak lyrics but interesting, often inspiring musical content that peaks with the new single, "Juxtapozed With U" - a title complete with the corny 1970s manipulation of English.

The album, like their others before it, won’t put rings around the world, nor will it bring Super Furry Animals in from the fringes. But it is interesting for its technological ambition, and may well be featured in a pub quiz or two in 20 years from now.

If you liked Rings Around the World...

Tracklist:
1. Alternate Route to Vulcan St.
2. Sidewalk Serfer Girl
3. (Drawing) Rings Around the World
4. It's Not the End of the World?
5. Receptacle for the Respectable
6. (A) Touch Senstive
7. Shoot Doris Day
8. Miniature
9. No Symphony
10. Juxtaposed With U
11. Presidential Sweet
12. Run! Christian, Run!
13. Fragile Happiness