The Twang’s the Thang

It’s that time of year again and as I type, I am looking at a dog-eared piece of paper that contains the names of twenty or so records from 2010 that may or may not make my Best of lists. It shall remain secret for a while longer as I finalise the order (although such is the mess of scribbles, red underlines and green asterisks that I suspect a wiki-leaks-style illicit release to the press would leave you all  none the wiser).  Instead, here’s a new album that has, alas, probably arrived a little late to be considered…

Y Niwl

Y Niwl are four lads from North Wales who play surf instrumentals, and supplement them with a few Joe Meek-style pieces that have their roots in the very early pre-Beatles sixties. The twang’s the thang (Duane Eddy, I think) and I’ve always had a soft spot for the guileless tones of Surf music, so it’s lovely to hear it being reproduced with some affection once again.

I remember there being a time in the eighties on the back of the Cramps and the Meteors when there was some love for the Surfaris and the Trashmen; but since then very little. Actually, Y Niwl are mining a different, less self-consciously lunatic seam than any of the Psychobilly bands ever did. Their creditors are bands like the Ventures, the Deltones and the Chantays, playing a stiller, more melancholic version, which I reckon is more true to the original spirit of the times anyway. All the Surf tricks are there – trebly, duelling guitars, heavily reverbed chords, rimshots and even the wonderful sound of the Farfisa organ. I love it.

My extensive Welsh language research informs me that “y niwl” is “the mist”, which fits rather neatly with the wilfully anonymous nature of the record itself – there’s very little to tell about the band themselves by the album itself. This being Surf music, there are no lyrics but even if there had been I suspect they’d have been in Welsh, as all of the song titles are Welsh. Having said that, the titles translate into numbers anyway – track one, “undegpump” translates as “fifteen”, I think, track number three is “two”, and track number four, “pedwar”, is… “four”. I guess I’ll never understand these kids…

(Actually, a quick rifle around the Internet does yield a few details, and there are the ubiquitous links to Gruff Rhys and Euros Childs’ projects, but now I’m used to it, I rather like a little mystery in my life. I choose not to go any further …)

There’s loads of video of Y Niwl on YouTube, including a bunch from this year’s Green Man… (Damn! Again…)


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Confusion in her eyes that says it all… « Partly Porpoise

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