Album Reviews

Mr Huw – Llond Lle O Hwrs A Lladro

(Copa) UK release date: 17 September 2007

Mr Huw is making quite a name for himself at the moment. If ever the word “cult” were applicable then it finds resonance with the popularity of Mr Huw at the moment. Cult is usually used to describe those kinds of bands who make nothing but extreme white noise. Bands with a tiny fanbase consisting of people who are far too cool to ever admit that they rarely listen to anything in their record collections because the majority of their records are tuneless toss.

Mr Huw might well have a small fanbase at the moment, but the release of this album should find it swelling considerably. His tuneful approach should find a place in the hearts of anyone that hears his music. Inhabiting a similar musical landscape to Super Furry Animals, it is perhaps no surprise to learn that Mr Huw is Welsh.

Certainly, at a base level there is the elemental influence of The Beatles and Beach Boys. The close harmony vocals, and playful melodies of all the songs here have their hearts based in good old fashioned pop. Like the Super Furries however, somewhere along the line things got a little bit skewed. It’s nothing as obvious as The Beatles discovering LSD and Eastern religion, but there’s definitely something going on in the little electronic touches and tinkling percussion (see Cyffur Iau and opening track Cyllwyniad for examples).

Whether the comparison with the SFA comes as a result of the knowledge that both parties are Welsh or because they share similarities in sound is hard to judge. That said the similarities are not merely restrained to sound. Like the SFA’s Mwng album, Llond Lle O Hwrs A Lladron is sung entirely in the Welsh language.

Sadly, not being conversant in the Welsh language means that it is impossible to relate to any of the lyrics on any of the songs. Mr Huw could be a rabid right winger and every single one of these songs could feasibly be a diatribe about immigrants. (It seems unlikely however. Most of the bands that trade in that kind of rhetoric generally sound as naff as the rubbish they spout.)

However, Gwyneb Dod translates as Cum Face, which is fairly at odds at the jaunty pop that you find upon actually hearing it. So catchy is this little number (it was originally a single given away with a Welsh language fanzine) that it is not entirely unreasonable to imagine your mum singing it as she drives along. It’s not unreasonable; but it is quite a disturbing idea. I’m sure Freud would have something to say about the whole thing.

It’s not all about cum on faces (I think). Morgi Mawr Gwyn translates as great white shark. Once again upon hearing the song you might be thrown, as all the might, menace and brute force of a great white is condensed in to a pleasing little ditty that wouldn’t sound out of place on Heads and Tails (check 1970s TV guides for details on that particular reference).

Which leads us to the only problem with the album. If there’s any kind of criticism to be leveled at Mr Huw it is that for the most part Llond Lle O Hwrs A Lladron is a little one paced and lacking in variety here and there. For the most part though this is an album that showcases a major song writing talent, and one that should find recognition outside of the Welsh speaking world.

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Mr Huw – Llond Lle O Hwrs A Lladro