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Gwenno - Le Kov (Album Review)

Monday, 19 March 2018 Written by Ben Gallivan

The dreamy soundscapes that Gwenno offers up on her latest record are as lush as the landscapes that inspired them. Picking up where she left off with the closing track - Amser - on her wonderful solo debut, ‘Y Dydd Olaf’, ‘Le Kov’ has been penned and performed in the Cornish language.

Having released the primarily Welsh language ‘Y Dydd Olaf’ on the (now sadly defunct) Cardiff label Peski in 2014 it was soon snapped up by Heavenly Recordings, who gave it a welcome re-release a year later, helping increase its audience.

There’s not much of a musical shift to be found on ‘Le Kov’, but that is more of a relief than a criticism. The wobbly synths and the thick bass are all present, as of course is Gwenno’s sweet voice - which also works just as well as a narrator.

The stunning intro to the album, Hi a Skoellyas Liv a Dhagrow (She Shed a Flood of Tears), is a dreamy song led by piano and strings, with the story conveyed in little more than a whisper.

Lead single Tir Ha Mor (Land and Sea) follows the same musical structure as Fratolish Hiang Perpeshki, one of the highlights of ‘Y Dydd Olaf’, and is therefore one of the best tracks on this record by proxy.

From the perspective of someone who doesn’t speak Cornish, Eus Keus? appears to be a passionate protest song, given its serious delivery. But, in reality, it’s all about cheese and is derived from a traditional phrase. The translation of the chorus: “Is there cheese? Is there or isn’t there? If there’s cheese, bring cheese. And if there isn’t cheese, bring whatever’s easy.” Isn’t that just brilliant?

There’s a nice cameo from Gruff Rhys on the wonky, folky Daromres Y’n Howl and the downbeat closing trio of songs provide the perfect soundtrack for a coastal sunset. Compared to ‘Y Dydd Olaf’, there aren’t as many poppy outings on ‘Le Kov’, but that album in turn was less poppy than the ‘Ymbelydredd’ EP that preceded it. That isn’t what this record is about. This is a deeply personal work, based on the language that Gwenno loves, passed down from her father as it will be passed on to her children. We should be very happy that she has shared it with us, too.

Gwenno Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Thu March 22 2018 - BRISTOL Louisiana
Fri March 23 2018 - OXFORD Bullingdon
Sun March 25 2018 - ABERYSTWYTH Ceredigion Museum
Thu April 12 2018 - LONDON Hoxton Hall
Fri May 04 2018 - TRURO Old Bakery
Fri June 15 2018 - CARDIFF Wales Millennium Centre

Click here to compare & buy Gwenno Tickets at Stereoboard.com.

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