IF ONLY I could utter a few words in Cymru, the language of the Gods which is the combination of Nye Bevan and someone with an impediment in which they spit as they speak.
So, it’s hurrah for Alun Gaffey and his Welsh language debut which he has haven’t even bothered to entitle. Roc a rol as would say in Gwynedd.
Like me you’ve probably never heard of Gaffey’s previous band Race Horses, who had two albums released six and four years ago. If anyone has a spare copy of any of these works please send, and in return I will send around my regular midget prostitute to meet your every need.
Alun Gaffey, as we’ll call it, is a curious work of pop, electro and Tom Jones’ B-sides. Palutyllau opens proceedings with a distinct nod to the 70s funk and soul influences he so beloves: Sly and the Family Stone, Chaka Khan, Roy Ayers et al. Yr Arfon pounds with early 80s hip hop beats, and New Romantic excitement. You better believe it.
Sandwiched inbetween those is a track about dinosaurs (either in the literal or the metaphorical sense) Deinasoriaid, a glorious frolic in indie-pop with a clear acknowledgment of the genius of Gruff Rhys and his band of Welsh eccentrics, the Super Furry Animals. There’s the same Godlike pop sensibilities on O Angau, the free-form, jaunty jumpabout the Welsh seem to love so much (am recalling 90s bands like Topper, Big Leaves, both far too good for the ignorant London press).
And that’s four tracks in; from here it goes slightly off the mainline. Jupiter Gravity is a curious electro-funk number with repetitive chants and minimal lyrics before it divulges into a mock news footage piece. Gaffey may have been advised to avoid rapping on Fy Mhocad Cefn – not that he does it badly, but it feels out of place. A good idea at the time, perhaps.
It’s an extraordinarily diverse album that features guitar, claps, samples piano, drums, bass and drums, and “ayyb” – all played by Gaffey himself with help from a number of others including engineer Frank Naughton, recorded entirely in Grangetown, south Cardiff. Themes include paranoia and alternative living.
It’s a complex work that requires more than a couple of listens to assimilate, but this is beginning to really get inside my head, and heart, and I’m looking forward to Gaffey’s next project.