Super Furry Animals Phantom Phorce

This super-limited edition collection of remixes is both exhausting and exhilarating, depending on whether you can devote 80 minutes to sit through the whole thing. And right off the bat, your attention is grabbed by the voice of one of the album’s producers, who comments on each track in between the songs. Apparently the band found this rather comical and decided to keep it in and at first it grates. However, with repeated listens you get used to the commentary and even begin to admire its inclusion, giving new insight to the tracks along with an unfettered originality. The choice of remixers is very impressive as the cream of the crop blend with unknown up and comers. Highlights include Four Tet’s percussion-heavy rendition of "The Piccolo Snare” and Brave Captain’s (aka Martin Carr of the Boo Radleys) orchestral drill & bass twist of "Bleed Forever.” Even more impressive is the beatboxing take on "Golden Retriever” by Killa Kela and the quirky start-and-stop pop of Wauvenfold’s "Sex, War & Robots.” The album is book-ended by versions of "Hello Sunshine,” yet they couldn’t be more different. Weevil’s is true to the original, keeping the vocals and surrounding them with early morning ambience; Freiband’s on the other hand is completely unrecognisable and draining at over ten minutes. An interesting experiment from the most interesting of bands, Phantom Phorce is what anyone would expect from the Super Furries: a weird, vibrant set of magical pop music twisted into bewildering mixed bag of tricks. (Placid Casual)