Adwaith’s new record Bato Mato is named after the guide the band had when they were travelling through Russia, an experience that formed the inspiration for the new album, everything from the propulsive sound, and feel, of being on a train, the expansive skies and what bassist Gwenllian Anthony says was “a life changing trip that really inspired us to write this album” and as Hollie Singer says “the barren landscape and brutalist architecture really seeped into these songs and the use of world instruments was heavily inspired by this journey“.
The band has already been working on the follow up to their award-winning debut album Melyn, but the pandemic put that on hold and the epiphany of the Russian trip meant a complete re-think so they could try and translate those experiences into music. What they have created is something epic. Those raw songs written in their early twenties, replete with angst, anger and attitude were amazing but rather than struggle with similar subjects on their sophomore album, Adwaith have gone from regular TV to IMAX in one album.
We get the swirling snow of psychedelia on ‘Cuddio’, ‘Sudd’ which stomps around like a giant giving another giant a lift on its shoulders, the squelchy fuzz and wall of riffs on ‘Wedi Blino’ and the glorious bass riff and bass and guitar doubling on ‘Lan Y Mor’, plus the super-catchy chant on ‘Nid Aur’. I don’t think I’ll ever tire of what Adwaith can do with a chorus. There you are happily running with the verses and then they hurl you off a cliff and carry you away into the sky. An Adwaith chorus can make you feel like you’ve emerged from a bunker after months underground and just taken your first lungful of sweet, fresh air.
But we cannot live on awesome choruses alone and on tracks like ‘Toddi’, ‘Cwympo’, and ‘Amser Codi’ the band explore the ethereal, allowing their lush harmonies and overlapping voices to float like ghosts over a still landscape. I also fell in love all over again with ‘Yn y Swn’, their collaboration with Massimo Silverio, which I hadn’t heard since I reviewed it back in March this year and said “it completely dispels any preconception that a collaboration is a diluted version of both acts with Adwaith and Massimo Silverio fusing their talents so seamlessly”.
Adwaith are proving to be one of the strongest indie bands around at the moment. They can construct a wall of sound that could withstand hurricanes, and handle the heavy and the poetic with equal ease. They also have more hooks than the cloakroom of the Millennium Stadium. Bato Mato is immense and exciting and just because I don’t understand the words doesn’t mean I can’t be moved by the sentiment and uplifted by the sheer optimistic power of their sound. Diolch!
Review by Paul F Cook