"There's a distant light..."
For years I felt that Guerrilla was Super Furry Animals‘ untidiest album by some distance, never quite really holding it as close to my heart as I have their other albums, despite SFA being one of one of my favourite bands.
Regardless of my how much Guerrilla has baffled me down the years, the opening five numbers of the album have always stood out as good as anything the band have ever released, with “Do Or Die” and “Northern Lites” being among their finest singles. Perhaps it was the deeper exploration into psych-pop that left me considering Guerrilla the runt of the Super Furry Animals litter, however over the years I have grown to appreciate that it is one of the band’s most creative albums. As my own tastes have expanded to the point where tracks that once inspired slightly baffled disappointment, those same songs now stand as highlights of Guerrilla. For example, I long grizzled that I felt “Wherever I Lay My Phone (That’s My Home)” was at least three minutes too long, but I can’t deny that it’s an absolutely brilliant tune. Elsewhere “Fire In My Heart” and “Keep The Cosmic Trigger Happy” are splendid numbers that any band would be rightly proud of.
Perhaps more than any of SFA’s other albums, Guerrilla betrays their previous incarnation as a spoof techno band as they grapple with the slippery concept of recording studio trickery as a primary creative tool. Tunes like “Some Things Come From Nothing” and “The Door To This House Remains Open” rely heavily on techno sounds, and Guerrilla is the album where SFA lean heavily into the electronic element to their sonic armament.
Listening back to it 20 years after its initial release, Guerrilla is a brilliant technicolour psychedelic pop-rock statement on which Super Furry Animals continue to expand their sound. Sure, there’s the odd one where you wonder if it might have worked better without the production overload, but that’s missing the point of the album a little. I know, because for years, I did. However, SFA have been generous enough to give the listener the option of exploring demos via some of the 28 additional tracks on this chunky reissue.
In retrospect Guerrilla is probably the SFA album with the broadest appeal, as it covers indie-rock, techno, electronic soundscapes and psych-pop. Yeah, it’s an album I got wrong for many years, but this wonderful reissue has offered me the opportunity to revisit a wonderful album that I have to put my hand up and say I originally misjudged.