You would think that having a bellyful of curry and more than a few of Brewdog’s finest ales would pretty much ensure confusion about an EP, actually a cassette (Google that if you are not retro analogue aware), sung entirely in Welsh. However, a lack of language awareness proved not to be a hindrance in the case of “Ymbelydredd” by Gwenno. “Ymbelydredd” means radiation, by the way, though the relevance of that translation was somewhat lost on me.
Anyway, onwards and upwards into the time machine of the late eighties for the music. Gwenno has gone for the analogue synth pop sound in maximum loop mode for these five songs and hasn’t shied away from swathing her voice in reverb either. That may not sound particularly unusual but Gwenno has managed to bring an unforced sentimentality and a kind of drifting through time feel that makes the past – to which the lyrics apparently refer - seem part of the present. Maybe that lack of big production also radiates an element of charm for it is undeniable that, say, “Ti Yw Madonna” or “Despenser St.” hit the mark in terms of singing the urban electro blues like a white girl would have done back in the day.
Teenage angst was a different thing back then and Gwenno, even though this EP is a product of today, has captured those forgotten times in a little plastic box for your enjoyment.