Estrons / Mellt
The Globe, Cardiff, Thurs 6 Dec
Straight outta Aberystwyth, Mellt have been the beneficiaries of backing from Horizons/Gorwelion, the BBC Cymru/Arts Council Wales partnership to promote new music in the country, and arrive with the endorsement of Clwb Ifor Bach, who picked them to play alongside Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard at the venue’s first ever showcase gig in London last month. They also claimed the Welsh Language Album of the Year award for debut Mae’n Hawdd Pan Ti’n Ifanc. It’s not hard to see why.
Mellt shift between styles as easily and dextrously as vocalists Glyn Rhys-James and Ellis Walker switch between Welsh and English, strong melodies binding everything together. Drummer Jacob Hodges holds his sticks halfway down, as though he’s been rudely interrupted midway through his chow mein and forced to improvise. The main takeaway from their set? That we can expect to hear a lot more of them in the next few months and years.
‘Estrons’ translates as ‘strangers’ or ‘misfits’, apparently, but in the company of each other and tonight’s full house, the headliners are neither. On the contrary, the intimate familiarity between members that comes with time spent together on the road has whetted the material from their first LP You Say I’m Too Much, I Say You’re Not Enough to a sharp point, while the boisterous and partisan crowd welcome them back from a nationwide tour as hometown heroes.
Musically, Estrons aren’t ripping anything up and starting again; indeed, truth be told, there’s something a little sanitised and safe about their hook-heavy take on punk. Nevertheless, they’re clearly as energised by the occasion as their audience and, in vocalist Tali Källström, possess a wild/trump card who functions as a strong focal point and who supplies the sort of pithy, smart lyrics that sound as good shouted out en masse as they look emblazoned across T-shirts – the chorus to debut single Make A Man being a case in point. Knocking over pints on stage and snapping the strap of her dress, she’s a force of nature, the element of unpredictability they need.
Footage of tonight’s show, she tells us, will be used for the video for Strangers – a track that, together with Cameras, creates a temporary lull. But the appearance of a second bassist helps to crank up the tempo, volume and atmosphere once more, and the night comes to a close with Källström launching herself out onto the heads of the crowd and guitarist Rhodri Daniel perched on the speaker stack, master of all he surveys – loyal subjects and new converts alike.
words BEN WOOLHEAD photos EMMA LEWIS