One of the shortest albums you will ever listen to, and the first feature in the new thread ‘Less Accessible Music You Should Definitely Listen To’, is Gruff Rhys’ ‘Yr Atal Genhedlaeth’. An album sung entirely in Welsh by psychedelic-rock pioneer Rhys, ‘Yr Atal’ bases it success on its accessibility to listeners of all languages: no understanding of the lyrics is needed.
Nonetheless, Rhys entertains those who do understand the language with a series of Welsh-language wordplay. The title itself can be translated to mean ‘The Stuttering Generation’, and yet, if the words are spoken with different pauses, it can be heard as the Welsh word for contraception. Other wordplay is used across the album titles, though none as notable as the album title itself.
Certainly more laid back than Super Furry Animals’ albums, the lead singer’s first solo album is a release with no consistent subject thread. ‘Gwn Mi Wn’ – which details a battle – differs greatly in subject to ‘Pwdin Ŵy 1 & 2’ – two love songs with the English title ‘Egg Pudding’. This doesn’t interfere with the album’s quality, however, which is an anthology of musical genres. Generally gravitating around indie-rock, Rhys introduces presets drum beats, electronic-rock and heavily chorused vocals to produce an album which is oddly coherent, despite the seeming dissimilarities between tracks.
With 10 of the 11 tracks written by Rhys, the album closes with a cover of Caryl Parry-Jones’ ‘Chwarae’n Troi’n Chwerw’. The cover fits the general feel of the album, which gives off a low-cost, almost home-made feel, standing in stark contrast to the heavily produced records of Super Furry Animals. Stripped back, and not just a SFA reproduction, ‘Yr Atal Genhedlaeth’ is well worth a listen.
Artist: Gruff Rhys
Label: Placid Casual
Release date: Jan 24, 2005
Play time: 29 mins
Notable mention: Pwdin Ŵy 2
P.S. For those interested in what could be considered less accessible English-language Rhys, check out his 14 minute narrative track, ‘Skylon!’: