Super Furry Animals have announced details of a 20th anniversary, deluxe remastered release of their hugely influential 1997 album, ‘Radiator’.
Clarity Just Confuses Me will see the light of day on Friday 28 July 2017 through BMG.It will include 30 rare and unheard Furries tracks that have been unearthed, including a joyously unfaithful reworking of Morrissey and Marr’s ‘The Boy With The Thorn In His Side’. This bonkers 8-minute rave (revealed today in a shortened radio edit) version gives the Furry treatment to a Smith’s classic on a never-before-heard cover version, originally recorded for a French magazine’s cover mount CD in the late nineties, but didn’t see the light of day….until now. Listen below.
Gruff Rhys says of the unearthed track: “We wanted to translate the lyrics of The Smiths track into French, so I spoke to a French friend of mine, who was actually working in Manchester, hence the half-French, half-Mancunian accent on the spoken introduction. It didn’t quite work out that way, although there are elements of the translation on it if you listen carefully, so what we have instead is an instrumental homage. I can’t remember why it didn’t get released, but am glad it hasn’t been lost forever and Furries, perhaps even Smiths fans, can now make their own mind up on how it compares to the original.”
Radiator will be reissued in meticulously remastered form on heavyweight double vinyl and 2CD and download package including new, rarities compilation, Clarity Just Confuses Me on Friday 28 July 2017 on BMG.
Following a similar, fingertip search through the archives last year to remaster and reissue their lauded debut, Fuzzy Logic (released 4 November 2016), the band along with ‘head archivist’, Kliph Scurlock and mastering wizard, Donal Whelan took the original, analogue master tapes for the ‘Radiator’ sessions, recorded with producer and kindred spirit, Gorwel Owen, and restored them to their intended glory. The constant, yet occasionally haphazard, cataloguing of demos, sessions and outtakes by Owen and the band over two decades means that 30 additional tracks, including 19 tracks previously unreleased by the band, have been rescued, restored and prepared for release alongside the 14, original songs on Radiator.
Hitting the top ten of the UK album chart after its release on Mon 25 August 1997, Radiator saw the band return to North Wales for three months (recording in a bungalow, a mile from the end of an RAF training school runway) for the recording sessions, determined to extract themselves from a domestic music scene that was deemed increasingly ‘traditional’ and put the ghosts of their difficult, debut album sessions at the legendary Rockfield Studios firmly behind them. The album made itself a permanent fixture in fans’ and critics’ affections alike, with four Top 40 singles, Demons, Hermann ♥’s Pauline, The International Language of Screaming and Play It Cool squeezing stone-cold, Furries classics The Placid Casual, Bass Tuned to D.E.A.D and Mountain People out of the queue to challenge the charts.
The album’s original artwork remains, famously establishing the band’s long-standing relationship with the artist, Pete Fowler, whose spectacled ‘good v bad’ bear character on the album sleeve has become (occasionally literally) a totemic figure for the band and fans alike. Recent, new interviews with the band assisted Keith Cameron (NME & Mojo) in painting a fresh picture of the Radiator sessions in accompanying liner notes packaged within the double-gatefold 2CD edition. Capturing the spirit of the time, keyboardist/vocalist/noisemaker, Cian Ciaran told Cameron: “It was a totally happy time to be in a band, and it is a joyous record. Quite beautiful.”
A band statement ahead of the release says:
“For three, contented months we lived in a house in constant earshot of military aircraft, to make ‘Radiator’ the album that it was. The original album sounded great when we emerged from our exile on Anglesey, and still does, but technology moves with the times and now we can hear it in higher-resolution, as nature intended. We’ve forgotten as much as we ever knew, so the rarities, demos and b-sides on the second disc are as much a surprise to us as they are to you.”
The progression of the band’s ideas, from rehearsal room to studio to final album selection, is laid bare throughout the compilation, with multiple versions of tracks appearing in various forms. Scurlock’s in-depth knowledge, enthusiasm and co-curation means that the entirety of the Ice Hockey Hair EP is presented, including opening track, the languid groove of Smokin’ and closer Let’s Quit Smoking. By adding alternate mixes, Smoke and Dim Ysmygu (translation: No Smoking), in the offcuts selection titled ‘ETC’, the compilation’s meticulous curation perfectly demonstrates the tangential evolution of just one Furries track and gives insight into their fervent experimentation with sound.
A selection of demos, recorded at the then Furries HQ, Big Noise Studios in Cardiff in December 1997, contain not only Naff Gân, which turned into Ice Hockey Hair, but eight songs from Radiator’s final tracklisting in raw form. An unrecognisably sparse, fuzzed-up version of The Placid Casual, a leisurely rendition of The International Language of Screaming and early explorations of the glorious Mountain People (complete with mid-verse giggle from Gruff Rhys) are just three notable inclusions to be added to the collections of Furries completists.
Super Furry Animals – Radiator (20th Anniversary Deluxe Edition) is available to pre-order now via Pledge Music: www.pledgemusic.com/superfurryanimals
Confirmed Radiator/Clarity Just Confuses Me Tracklisting:
RADIATOR (2017 REMASTER – CD & VINYL)
2. THE PLACID CASUAL
3. THE INTERNATIONAL LANGUAGE OF SCREAMING
5. SHORT PAINKILLER
6. SHE’S GOT SPIES
7. PLAY IT COOL
8. HERMANN ♥’S PAULINE
10. TORRA FY NGWALLT YN HIR
11. BASS TUNED TO D.E.A.D
12. DOWN A DIFFERENT RIVER
14. MOUNTAIN PEOPLE
ICE HOCKEY HAIR E.P. (CD ONLY)
16. ICE HOCKEY HAIR
18. LET’S QUIT SMOKING
ETC. (CD ONLY)
20. DIM YSMYGU
21. THE BOY WITH THE THORN IN HIS SIDE
CLARITY JUST CONFUSES ME (BONUS TRACKS)
B SIDES & SUCH (CD ONLY)
1. CRYNDOD YN DY LAIS
2. HIT AND RUN
3. FOXY MUSIC
4. PASS THE TIME
6. B SIDE
7. CARRY THE CAN
8. WRAP IT UP
9. TRÔNS MR. URDD
11. PLAY IT COOL (U.K. ALBUM MIX)
DEMO SESSION, BIG NOISE STUDIOS, CARDIFF, DECEMBER 1996 (CD ONLY)
12. SFA THEME (DEMO)
13. THE INTERNATIONAL LANGUAGE OF SCREAMING (DEMO)
14. TORRA FY NGWALLT YN HIR (DEMO)
15. DOWN A DIFFERENT RIVER (DEMO)
16. SHE’S GOT SPIES (DEMO)
17. HIT AND RUN (DEMO)
18. MOUNTAIN PEOPLE (DEMO)
19. PLAY IT COOL (DEMO)
20. BASS TUNED TO D.E.A.D (DEMO)
21. NAFF G N (DEMO)
22. THE PLACID CASUAL (DEMO)
23. MUSIC BOX (DEMO)