Iechyd Da (Domino)
“My love of Wales has always been there … It’s just a magical place with an incredibly beautiful language,” says Bill Ryder-Jones of the decision to name his new album Iechyd Da. Nice try, Bill – flattery will get you everywhere except an automatic glowing Buzz review. We’re too hard-headed for that – but not so hard-hearted that we can’t fall for this record’s measured, romantic drama.
Ryder-Jones sought the blessing of Gruff Rhys for the album title, and Iechyd Da feels very much like a companion piece to Rhys’ forthcoming album Sadness Sets Me Free, heralding the new year with renewed positivity, reflecting on the dark but intent on letting the light in. Most arresting on Iechyd Da are This Can’t Go On and Nothing To Be Done, which set his self-effacing, cracking vocals to starbursting music-of-the-spheres instrumentation, while Thankfully For Anthony is a sublime tearjerker expressing heartfelt gratitude to a friend for help in the fight against personal demons.
All good things come to an end – but this album is a timely reminder that so too do all bad.
words BEN WOOLHEAD