The last two weeks have borne out a stunning trifecta of album releases from Welsh artists. After The Joy Fomidable’s Aaarth and Estrons’ phenominal powerhouse YSITM/ISYNE. October 12th sees the release of debut album by Welsh post-punk trio Adwaith, Melyn. Hailing from Camarthen and comprised of Hollie Singer (vocals,guitar), Gwenllian Anthony (bass, keys, mandolin), and Heledd Owen (drums). Adwaith released their debut single Pwysau’ at the end of 2016 and since then, have quickly become a solid headline band. With appearances at The Future is Female festival, SWN festival as well as European dates alongside fellow Welsh artist Gruff Rhys.
Also instrumental in encouraging gender equality within the Welsh music scene, Adwaith created the FEMME gig nights. A run of sold out club shows that featured acts as diverse as Ani Glass, Chroma, Serol Serol, Gwenno and the legendary Patricia Morgan from Datblygu all sharing the same stage.
Produced by Estrons producer and bassist Steffan Pringle, Melyn kicks off with an instrumental intro that lies somewhere between The Tom Tom Club and The Happy Mondays. But soon a fuzzed out bassline brings in Lipstic Coch’s catchy guitar hook. As this is sung in their native welsh, I’ve no idea what the lyrical content is. However, that hasn’t stopped me mumbling my interpretation of the chorus hourly, to this day. There’s a heavy feel of The Slits to this track, but that soon dissipates into the organ led, choral dark synth-pop of Dan Y Haenau. Colli Golwg, which the Internet informs me translates to Loss of Sight, is an infectious, bouncing track where Singer’s voice rolls over a bed of guitars, organ and percussion. All with a feel of a Welsh language Swordfishtrombones. Melyn is a record that’s not shy of switching up the sound and offers up some tweed amp style, garage bangers in the form of Newid and Y Diweddaraf.
In what sounds like it could be a ballad, Pwysau’ has a beautiful coiling acoustic guitar riff that drops into space. Providing a superb showcase for Adwaith’s tight use of vocal harmonies. There’s a trash country sound on Osian, which brings one of the few vocal line in English. What’s more surprising is that it serves as a reminder you’re not listening in a language you understand, unless you speak Welsh of course. Instead, Melyn’s compact, layered sound transcends language. Allowing the listener to be carried along with its dense melodies. Shifting the gears again, Fel I Fod goes to a place that’s closer to folk-rock before the darkly atmospheric Gartref leads us to the instrumental close out Tair.
Melyn is not only magnificent record full of immense tunes and brilliantly off kilter instrumental breaks. It’s a record that’s full of ideas. It changes shape on you, keeping you constantly engrossed, while still sounding like a single coherent work. It’s a record that carries the colors of Siouxie and The Banshees, The Slits and The Velvet Underground and fuses them together with Adwaith’s own unique sound. There seems to be a lot of talent rising in the valleys right now. With Melyn, Adwaith have taken their place at the vanguard.
Melyn is released October 12th on Libertino Records.
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