DVD Animals

Super Furry Animals break the bank to create the first essential music DVD


Rating: NNNNN


SUPER FURRY ANIMALS Rings Around The World DVD (XL) Rating: NNNNwhat were welsh psychedelic rock jokers Super Furry Animals thinking when they broke the bank for their Rings Around The World DVD? The sleek package makes a great companion piece for their excellent album by the same name, but at what cost?Music DVDs have become the 2002 equivalent of the CD-ROM for bands and musicians. Five years ago, bands felt obliged to make their CDs “enhanced” by sticking some computer-friendly material onto the end of the disc. The extras were usually nothing more than a few photos, perhaps an official bio of the band and a link to their Web site.

Music DVDs haven’t fared much better. Big releases like U2’s Elevation Tour Live From Boston are essentially just concert movies with some added footage or the option to switch between cameras. Like a tour shirt, it’s a nice memento if you were there, but it’s difficult to imagine why anyone would buy the thing otherwise.

Rings Around The World (released in Europe last year and now available here) is different if only because there is a real sense of vision to the project. So what if it also seems like the band signed to a major label, took some drugs and then ran with a bag of cash and dumped it on a ridiculously self-indulgent DVD?

This is not a collection of videos or live concerts, but a specially made companion piece meant to be watched while you listen to the record. The Furries hired animators and short-film directors to make three-minute mini-movies for each song on the album.

The films range from low-budget laughs to excellent animations, including footage of a man dressed as a giant camcorder being tossed out of a mall and sequences of nuclear holocaust as well as trippy animations that probably seem more profound if you’re high.

There are also loads of extras, including hidden tracks, info on the filmmakers and more than a dozen remixes of the album songs. The sound is incredible, and the entire thing looks like it was done on a crippling budget.

The Furries will probably lose their shirts on this, but at least they tried, which is more than you can say for U2.mattg@nowtoronto.com

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