The sky is grey, and your surroundings are in shambles. You walk through the human quarter of the city, and you see the glistening towers of the robot quarter in the distance. The streets are barren, and there’s a smell of smoke in the air. You turn down a dark alley and see a tiny glimmer of light coming from under a door. You knock on the door, and it opens. Vibrant colors, loud music, and lively patrons abound. You’ve stumbled on something special . . .
The Welsh language is one that’s struggled to gain a grasp on music audiences outside of Wales, but this record is a prime example of why we should be paying attention. Y Dydd Olaf is the newest full-length by Cardiff-born Gwenno Saunders, who you may recognize as the former front-woman of the Pipettes. Saunders brilliantly reps her home country by establishing herself as a uniquely formidable voice in the synth pop realm.
The release’s title is derived from Welsh author Owain Owain’s 1976 sci-fi novel, in which robots assert their power over humans by turning them into clones. Saunders utilizes this subject matter as a foundation upon which to construct an album encompassing the importance of maintaining cultural identity in the face of corporate tyranny. Unless you understand the language, a translation is recommended, but not absolutely necessary.
The reason I say this is because all of these songs can be enjoyed for their musicality alone. It’s evident that Saunders knows how to pen outstanding hooks, and she nestles them within beds of reflective synths and hazy guitars. Buoyant drums make a good portion of these tracks danceable. This is a wonderful sounding record, and it has something to say, as well. If you’re seeking catchy Welsh synth-pop, this album is for you.
– stasi (@stasisphere)