The sixth solo album from Super Furry Animals frontman Gruff Rhys is typically internationalist in its outlook. Recorded and produced between Cardiff and Johannesburg, Pang! is a Welsh language album with some Zulu lyrics, put together with the help of South African electronica musician Muzi. Rhys has recorded a welter of sonically diverse solo works, so expect Pang! to be completely different once again.
Limited Vinyl LP £22.95 RT0086LPE
Indies only, limited edition blue & white splatter vinyl LP on Rough Trade. Comes in a deluxe heavyweight hand-finished sleeve with poster.
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- Limited edition
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Vinyl LP £15.49 RT0086LP
Green coloured vinyl LP on Rough Trade.
- Coloured vinyl
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CD £10.06 RT0086CD
CD on Rough Trade.
My relationship to the Welsh language starts and ends with my girlfriends randomly breaking out into their national anthem from time to time. It’s without a doubt one of the better national anthems (as tends to be the case when you are the subject, and not the object of colonialism), partly because it’s about how much they love their lovely land, but also because of the wonderful mellifluousness of the Welsh language.
Sadly, because of the English, the language is at risk of dying out, which makes musicians who are able to release albums in the language, like Gruff Rhys and Gwenno, all the more vital. Rhys has of course been doing this since his Super Furry Animal’s days, but that doesn’t make ‘Pang!’ any less exciting.
Rhys’ soft spoken Welsh (and on occasion Zulu, and yes, even English) is accompanied by sparse and simple instrumentation. Quietly plucked guitar, that brings to mind some of Malcom Middleton’s more subtle compositions, and slightly ramshackle percussion form the backbones of most of the tracks. South Africa producer Muzi programmed the beats on some of the tracks, I’m assuming on the lively ‘Bae Bae Bae’, which injects a bit more energy into proceedings. The same is true of the simple riff played by the horns on ‘Digidigol’.
But Rhys is always restrained. Each song rarely has more than a couple elements, which leaves a lot of room to breathe. It also means that you can’t ignore the fact he’s singing in Welsh, or ignore what a tragedy it would be to lose any language.
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