By now you should know that the Super Furry Animals are a band to savour, dipping whimsically into various genres and constantly flinging songs at us from way out leftfield. If not, you should do yourself a favour and pick up whatever takes your fancy from their enviable back-catalogue.
Phantom Phorce is a collection of Phantom Power remixes that originally appeared on the DVD edition of the album last year, and is being released both to coincide with the Furries’ UK tour and to eventually pay the remixers for their efforts. It’s all sounding a bit cynical, right? Well, don’t be too hasty – anything bearing the SFA logo in the past has clearly gone through strict quality control filters, and Phantom Phorce is no exception.
Kurt Stern, the executive producer on Phantom Power, is present throughout, providing informative and often humorous remarks about the tracks. It might seem like a simple gimmick, but it adds depth to the recording, embracing the listener into the process, unlike most remix albums, which tend to be a little patronising at times.
Musically, the tracks are reworked imaginatively, enthusiastically and caringly more often than not. The tracklisting itself is the same as Phantom Power, with alternate versions of Valet Parking and Hello Sunshine stapled onto the back end. With that latter version of Hello Sunshine excepted (it’s ten minutes long and utterly minimal), there is little to criticise. In fact I am tempted to say that each reworking is faithful yet promiscuous, akin to sitting through Phantom Power on mind-altering substances.
It’s only fair that I give you some idea of what is on offer here, so here goes. Liberty Belle loses its percussion and becomes the soundtrack to your laziest dreams; Golden Retriever decides to morph into credible hip-hop; Piccolo Snare voices its ambitions to be a worldwide anthem of political protest; Bleed Forever sprawls its way into the conscience of 10,000hz Legend-era Air; and Slow Life, an electro-crescendo masterpiece anyway, grabs a glo-rod and gyrates masterfully into the night.
What I’m really trying to say is this: Phantom Phorce is an innovative and thoroughly enjoyable set of remixes, shining an altered light on the genius of the Super Furry Animals.