1999 proved to be a big year for SFA. NME readers named them Best New Band in January. In May, the single “Northern Lites” was released and made #11 in the charts. A dense production, with steel drums clattering out a calypso rhythm whilst Gruff sang an irreverent lyric about Jesus, it was an apt taster for the new album, Guerrilla.
Recorded at the Real World Studios, the album retained SFA’s pop melodies but took a less guitar-centric approach to their execution and was their most experimental work to date. The album swung from glam and garage rock numbers (“Night Vision”, “The Teacher”) to novelty techno (“Wherever I Lay My Phone (That’s My Home)”), ambient indietronica (“Some Things Come From Nothing”) and upbeat drum’n’bass (“The Door To This House Remains Open”).
For the cover art, Pete Fowler created the band’s first three-dimensional models, rather than the paintings he had supplied for the Radiator album and singles.
After playing several of the summer festivals, SFA released “Fire In My Heart”, the most soulful track from Guerrilla, in August and saw it chart at #25. They then embarked on a US and UK tour. SFA finished their UK tour at the Cardiff International Arena in Cardiff, where they showcased the first ever concert in surround sound and broadcast it on the World Wide Web.
January 2000 involved a series of changes for SFA. The last single from Guerrilla, “Do Or Die”, was released and made #20. It was also the last single SFA released on Creation Records, as founder Alan McGee set off to pursue other interests.