Following their critically acclaimed eponymous Welsh language debut (which Clash magazine called the work of a “Welsh Brian Wilson”) and English language LP The Hum – which yielded much coverage on BBC 6Music including an MPFree of the Day, a BBC Radio Wales Single of the Week and being hailed as “bloody lush” by Lauren Laverne – the band has taken another major step forward.
We took a listen to Fragile Diamond and here’s what we thought:
The disc starts off with ‘You Don’t Have To Leave On Your Own’ a quasi-rocksteady punk- rock tune laden with guitar twanging spasms. After an interval, the song evolves into a huge fanfare of chords and an expansive vocal upset. A simple guitar solo threads sinfully through the finale, and leaves it a chewy mess. Sticky fun!
The title track ‘Fragile Diamond’ invites those ‘Welsh Beach Boy’ comparisons. A syrupy chorus, which is spread out like gooey chocolate spread, slathered onto creamy thighs, glisten with happy chords. This song gives each listener a love bath. Aromatic, healthy and healing – it will make you feel all warm inside.
‘Sharkfins In The Sky’ slices like silver through the cool sea-breeze. The vocals gently flutter through the mesh to scutter away gently and out-of-sight. Even if it is utterly smooth, and a tad too kiss-me-quick, this song still harbours an awful secret.
‘Radio Revoloution’ reminds us of something by vintage Strawbs or even Lindisfarne. It has that maverick Brit-Folk quality. But the song also retains the noble heart of pop. A guttural guitar solo squeezes itself through the gaps left by the cushioned vocals, creating a slice of valued sourness, left flapping amongst the sweet.
‘Meet My Maker’ is allegedly based on singer Griff’s experiences of going blind while driving fast down the M4 motorway. It’s just a matter of strummed acoustic guitar, together with some sweet lyrics. But then the simple song blossoms into something grand and quite indispensable. When those keyboards clink and tumble in, you know you have got a classic number on your hands. Perfection.
‘She Walks On By The Flame’ could easily be an extended theme for any 1970’s spy-based television show. Chipper keys swing back and forth and that cocky riff keeps the tension going beneath the surface. The chorus is pure rock ‘n’ roll. This is a hugely gratifying frolic.
Cowboy song ‘Rose of Emily’ whip-cracks-away as it describes, with some skill, the dusty ride back to the barn. Reminding us of ‘The Yellow Rose of Texas’, the guitars – that are unimaginably squeaky clean – are fired up towards the rear of this song, adding fire-crackers to get this stampede movin ‘on.
– © Neil_Mach August 2012 –