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- Trwbador by Trwbador
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Phil just called this duo “the latest pop sensations”, a phrase sure to do a band no favours when they’re about to be reviewed in a place like this. I remember their previous 7” on GPS was quite an understated bit of beaty electro-acoustica and that feel continues here, with a mixture of English and Welsh-language vocals atop gently plucked guitars and sparse, percussive electronica.
When it works, such as on Lluniau, it’s quite lovely - stumbling, organic-sounding compositions bringing to mind the Notwist, but with a female touch which is compounded by clever vocal looping, bringing to mind Julia Holter and Laurie Anderson (in fact ‘Red Handkerchiefs’ seems like some kind of Laurie Anderson/Joanna Newsom pastiche) and sometimes Cold Specks. ‘Sun In The Winter’ has a pretty cool early Deerhoof feel too with its hesitant phrasing and simple melodies.
I was unsure about this at first, but as I approach the end of the first side it’s clear that they do touch on something special. Angharad Van Rijswijk’s voice is fairly unremarkable but it’s cleverly treated with loads of self-harmonising and cut-and-paste looping, while the instrumental arrangements are cannily empty-sounding and patiently constructed, like The xx, but I rarely get the feeling that the duo are repeating themselves. I’m sensing a heavy influence from recent(ish) Euro-dance stuff like The Knife and Niki & The Dove, too. This dreamy, skeletal pop sound continues throughout, and while it isn’t always to my taste I can’t deny that the combination of simple, catchy tunes and a methodical, functional backing is frequently very effective, and in that respect it doesn’t surprise me that people are making a fuss over these two.
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