Album: Gruff Rhys

Yr Atal Genhedlaeth, PLACID CASUAL
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The Independent Culture

The songs that make up Gruff Rhys's first solo album were originally recorded as Super Furry Animals demos, until Rhys decided he was quite satisfied with them as they were, that their simplicity worked to their advantage, and shouldn't be obscured by further needless development. Which isn't to say that they're particularly primitive: the overlapping, layered vocal lines of a song such as "Gwn Mi Wn" ("Yes, I Know") have an innocent sophistication that recalls Brian Wilson, sounding like a cross between a nursery rhyme and a madrigal. It was this song - about a fictitious pair of duelling rappers - that apparently furnished the spark for the entire project, according to Rhys. "The general idea for the whole record," he explains, "was based around this song: to get music down to its elemental state where possible, just using the rhythm and the vocal melody." As with the Super Furries' Mwng, the sheer good-natured hummability of Rhys' tunes surmounts any language problems, though according to hi

The songs that make up Gruff Rhys's first solo album were originally recorded as Super Furry Animals demos, until Rhys decided he was quite satisfied with them as they were, that their simplicity worked to their advantage, and shouldn't be obscured by further needless development. Which isn't to say that they're particularly primitive: the overlapping, layered vocal lines of a song such as "Gwn Mi Wn" ("Yes, I Know") have an innocent sophistication that recalls Brian Wilson, sounding like a cross between a nursery rhyme and a madrigal. It was this song - about a fictitious pair of duelling rappers - that apparently furnished the spark for the entire project, according to Rhys. "The general idea for the whole record," he explains, "was based around this song: to get music down to its elemental state where possible, just using the rhythm and the vocal melody." As with the Super Furries' Mwng, the sheer good-natured hummability of Rhys' tunes surmounts any language problems, though according to his annotations, most track titles involve some tortuous Welsh-language pun. "Epynt", for instance, besides being the name of a Welsh mountain, stands for the battle between the euro (E) and the pound ( pynt).

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