MODERN AMERICAN radio is a barren wasteland of sameness: one idea (boy bands, rap/rock) replicated until the airwaves are populated by a bunch of people who sound exactly the same. Which is why it's a privilege when such a radically different band like the Super Furry Animals choose to visit our sad country. Their music is hard to classify, but they're definitely not a boy band.

Their new album, Guerrilla, is all over the map -- equal parts glam, prog, ambient, and psych. Every song sounds different, from the Tijuana pop of "Northern Lites," which sounds like Arthur Lee celebrating his release from prison on a cruise ship, to "Chewing Chewing Gum," which suggests Brian Wilson conducting Queen from his sandbox through a defective walkie-talkie. Raiding equally from the '60s (Love), '70s (ELO), and the post-everything '90s, the Super Furry Animals will use anything in pursuit of the cosmic swoon of pure futurist pop.

I (sleep-deprived, mumbling) spoke with the lead Furry, Gruff Rhys (Welsh-accented, stoned, and tangential) by phone a few weeks ago to ask about pop terrorism and the future of music: "I think there are people who are self-consciously exploring sound and music in ways that haven't been done before, and in that respect I suppose we're quite conventional. It's weird, 'cause with this latest album (Guerrilla), we thought we'd made a conventional pop record, and people are calling it psychedelic.

"We listen to a lot of music that's made on computers, but we also listen to a lot of acoustic music. There's lots of digital keyboards that haven't been fully used. It seems a lot of people have just been using the set sounds, but now people are using more and more digital sounds, seeing what different things you can make.

"We've just finished the new album (MWNG), [which is] exploring more digital avenues. We went back a few weeks ago and cut an album in 15 days, all in Welsh. It's a sort of coherent batch of songs, fairly moody. We did it in a small room with a dog, good atmosphere, and we didn't eat much -- quite hungry! We see it as a kind of jokey pop album, 'cause I think it's the most flippant record lyrically. I wanted to make something quite direct.

"I think you can have socially-conscious psychedelic bands. It's not all escapism. It is reality for us, in the sense that we are real, and we create a world for us that is real. And if we have a fantastical idea, we'll try it out. I think it's more a sense of changing reality. We just want to escape the bullshit.

"We've been able to change our reality by coming to the USA, by being able to make the records of our dreams. It's all part of an adventure that we're having together in the band, that we're able to take our adventure around the world and show it to people. We sat around doing nothing for years, talking about making sculptures of bears, and buying tanks; and we were able to realize it. We were, in that way, able to change reality for the people who came to check it out."

One example of the Super Furries' transgressions against reality: They bought a tank and drove it across Europe, spinning records from inside -- and then sold it to Don Henley. They have hit singles like "The Man Don't Give a Fuck" and "I Just Want to Smoke It," with choruses that would obviously never make it past the censors in the States.

"The last time we were in the States," says Gruff, "people thought we were a hockey team in service stations. We do play; we're not very fit, though. Anyway, sport creates enemies, because people support different teams, but music brings people together. We sponsored our local soccer teams, Cardiff City. There's a SFA logo on the shirts. We were supposed to meet for a photo shoot, but we sent three guys dressed as aliens instead."

As for their upcoming show, Rhys says, "It'll be fairly straightforward. We'll just play. I think our music will be covering a lot of space. We've reached the point in the U.K. where we can do a real "Spinal Tap" show. Luckily, we haven't reached that point in America. Pretty direct, no thrills. Maybe we could pick up a moose, but we'd have to earplug the moose."