"Huh this name’s funny. Pronounced "muwong" then, is it?" er, no it’s "moong" actually…think of mooing cows. "So what does it mean then? Sheep Shaggers Anonymous?" it’s translated as "Mane". Furry animals have them. "They’re Welsh, you know." YES WE KNOW!!!!!
Aaah right, can we get on with the review now, please?
I personally always thought the Super Furries resided on Mars and Gruff could be warbling on in Latvian for all I care. Mwng is a lot less of a playful animal than Guerrilla but the musical directness of its contents makes it all the more scrumptiously mournful, [Ymaelodi A’r Mylon].
The one thing I do miss is that unless you are a Welsh speaker you can’t understand the lyrics, which means that the vast majority of us miss all those skewed play on words. Even if we can’t understand what on earth Gruff is singing about (and to be honest, have we ever?) the music, tone and atmosphere of the songs give us quite a good indication of where the lyrics are heading. This is exemplified on "Sarn Helen", a song about the Roman Road that is still used today to link North and South Wales. It sounds like an approaching Roman army. Think of a battlefield and two opposing armies marching towards each other and sizing each other up. Y Teimlad’s glass – like fragility exudes emotion. Opening song, Drygioni, sounds as though the rest of the band threw Gruff down a deep well at Christmas. The resulting tune has sleigh bells and vocals so muffled they could’ve used cotton wool to record them.
Mwng was not only meant to be SFA’s Welsh album, but it was also intended as their winter album….which is obviously why they decided to release their album at the start of summer. If Ymaelodi A’r Ymylon typifies Mwng’s wintery persona then Ysbeidiau Heulog is the sunny interval (funnily enough it is also the translation of the song title) of the album, a song that wouldn’t look out of place on Guerrilla.
So with no lyrics to giggle at, and an SFA who’ve returned to their rockier roots the listener is left with a poignant, dark, curling, bundle of songs.
8Rachelle Ansell's Score