Angela Lewis on pop

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The Independent Culture
Last summer, Welsh surreal rockers Super Furry Animals played their debut London show in front of about 20 people (including half a dozen NME music journalists), supporting Eddie Tudorpole. They looked conventional - almost disappointingly so - but they cranked up a curious mix of baffling Welsh lyrics and 1970s prog guitar riffs that threw up so many weird ideas, they held huge promise indeed. Fulfilled in part by atheist's doodle "God Show Me Magic!", their first top-40 hit. It's typical Super Furry Animal territory, in that it appears daft - zippy and fun like a children's TV theme - but with a sharp message about lack of belief in God.

SFA are loved for their complexity. Plus, it must be said, their fondness for high jinks, this year they've been banned from everything - from their own after-show party at the climax of their joint Bis tour, to youth TV shows in Wales. Maybe we should be especially worried that Oasis's Gallagher brothers turned up to the SFA album launch party last week. "We don't know how to behave ourselves I suppose," muses bassist, Guto. Perhaps their love of Howard Marks, international drug deal extraordinaire, provides a clue to their attitude: SFA love mavericks. "Howard Marks took on everybody for the sake of taking people on, like the FBI and Russians. When we met him, he was really cool, in leather trousers and a healthy tan. He came with an entourage of eight people, and thought we'd be a folk band." Do you worry people might think you're jokers? "We're dead serious about our music," Guto asserts, "but we wanna make people happy. I've always been into good-time bands. We're professionals, but it just so happens we are not gloomy and glum."

Super Furry Animals, , Nottingham the Rig (0115-941 2544) 21 May; Liverpool Lomax (0151-709 4321) 22 May

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