Yucatan: Uwch Gopar Mynydd | Album review

Fri, Jun 19, 2015, 03:00


Uwch Gopar Mynydd


Recordiau Coll


Since the emergence of Iceland’s Sigur Rós some 20 years ago, the notion of non-English bands writing and singing in their native language has advanced in a way that few people could have predicted. Nonetheless it comes as a surprise to see that just across the Irish Sea in Wales a band is trying to emulate Sigur Rós’s success.

While comparisons are odious (and, you suspect, unwanted by a band as singular as Yucatan), there’s no doubt but that the template has been duly studied. But that doesn’t take anything away from the innate grandeur of Yucatan’s second album, Uwch Gopar Mynydd (Above the Mountain Summit).

Super Furry Animals may be the best known Welsh band to release records in their native tongue, but Yucatan may just be the best Welsh band to wring real artistry out of a language not many people can comprehend. Comparisons to Iarla Ó Lionáird’s solo work (particularly 2006’s superlative Invisible Fields) are not to be casually dismissed.

Inevitably, the only track sung in English (Word Song – surely as banal a title as you can get) seems out of place, and you’d wonder whether the decision to include it sprang from a fear of lack of radio play, or whether it’s meant to be ironic. Not that it really matters.

The seven other spacious, virtually tactile tracks (Ffin, Cwm Llwm, Halen Daear a Swn Y Mor, Ochenald, Llyn Tawelwch, Angharad, Uwch Gopa’r Mynydd) infiltrate the headphones to make you feel as though you’ve just woken up on a misty summer’s morning at the base of Snowdonia with sleep in the eyes and dew in the hair. If you’re a fan of elegant yet powerful, substantial post-rock, then you know the score: music as beautiful as this doesn’t need words you can understand for it to make perfect sense.