Carwyn Ellis is a busy man. Not only does he have his own band Colorama but also plays with The Pretenders, collaborates with Edwyn Collins, put together the band Bendith with fellow Welsh musicians Plu (their eponymous album is one of my all time favourite albums), hosts a show on Soho Radio and most recently formed the Brazilian-influenced band Rio 18.
Rio 18’s most recent release is ‘Gwely’r Môr’ (‘Seabed’) featuring Elan Rhys from Plu on vocals alongside Ellis on keyboards, Shawn Lee from the USA on drums (who also produced the track) and Andre Siqueira and Kassin from Rio de Janeiro on percussion and bass respectively. Carwyn Ellis says of the song: “This Welsh language song is a whimsical (and bilingual!) paean to underwater reveries, set to a summery samba soul beat”.
‘Gwely’r Môr’ has the gently undulating feeling of being carried along by under sea currents with the wobble of electric piano, a fin-flick of clavinet, cascading bubbles of percussion and Elan Rhys’ vocals swimming effortlessly around everything, occasionally joined by a haunting whale-like keyboard line. The beautiful video to the track was made by Japanese illustrator and animator, Tomo Oriyama and it’s a bright pastel joy that turns the band into sub-aquatic creatures, Elan Rhys into a fetching mermaid and features a tambourine playing squid and a record shop filled with music loving sea creatures.
Review by Paul F Cook