Hiya all you lovely people! 😁
After less than two months since the second installment of Gwilym Bowen Rhys’ record series Detholiad o Hen Faledi (A Selection of Old Ballads ) has been out, we can now celebrate the release of yet another beautiful album of delicious Welsh-language music, which is a creation of the alt-folk trio Plu, which consists of siblings Elan Mererid Owain, Marged Eiry Rhys and the aforementioned Gwilym Bowen Rhys from the Caernarfon area in North Wales. For any newbies out there, Gwilym is one of my faza people, which means events like this are a really huge thing over here in Bibielland. Like I mentioned in the post linked above where I shared one of Gwilym’s songs from his latest solo album, so far he happens to be the most actively prolific of my faza peeps when it comes to releasing new music currently, so I always make a lot of fuss when he does release something because my other faza peeps currently don’t really do it either regularly or at all. ANd so this year, being able to enjoy not only Gwilym’s new album solo but also a new release from Plu, I feel like I’m being spoilt absolutely rotten!
This new album is simply called Tri (Three) and was released by Sbrigyn Ymborth – a branch of the label Sain. Like their previous albums it was recorded at Studio Sain and produced by Plu with Aled Wyn Hughes, known for example from Cowbois Rhos Botwnnog. Most of the songs are Plu’s own material. As far as I know, it came out on April 29, however, on that day Bibielz were completely out of touch with the world thanks to a migraine, so only got it yesterday. I’ve already mentioned a lot on here that when it comes to my faza peeps’ music that I hear for the first time – be it objectively new or just new to me – i like to listen to it in specific conditions, and that, among other things, means it has to be when most people in my timezone are likely to be asleep, and it’s crucial that all the people in my household are asleep, so I can have complete peace and as few external distractions as possible. And I had to wait a long time to have this particular condition fulfilled, because the first days of May are always grilling (or, as Sofi used to say to annoy me when she was younger, gwilling ) 😒 ) time here in Poland because we have national holidays and the weather usually starts feeling warmer and stuff, and so my family was grilling as well and it was practically only today – a couple hours after midnight – that I was able to focus my attention solely on Plu. So more thorough listens are definitely due, but I was feeling too giddy about it to wait longer with sharing the news with y’all. 😀
This was a very interesting experience, and a little surprising. I’ve always thought that Plu were not only a well-developed and already fully-shaped but also a really very mature band musically, but I think since their last album called Tir a Golau (Land and Lights) in 2015 (not counting their more recent Bendith collaboration that they did together with Carwyn Ellis from Colorama) a lot must have been going on for all of them, because they have grown even more, as mind-blowing as it is. I’d say that, as a whole, pretty much from start to finish, this album has a bit more of a substantial vibe to it. What I mean is, Plu’s earlier albums feel very ethereal and otherworldly, airy kind of, giving you a feeling as if you have suddenly found yourself in some beautiful, alternate realm woven from clouds, mist and moonlight (not that I’ve ever seen any of those visual phenomena but these are the sort of things that Plu’s sound makes me think of nonetheless), or something akin to Avalon, which is one of the reasons why I originally fell in love with their music and I’m sure they’re called Plu (feathers) for a reason. This album definitely doesn’t lack that soft lightness, but at the same time it feels more earthly as a whole than their previous releases. Perhaps some part of why I get this impression is that we have a bit different instrumentation here, featuring more electric guitars than in the past (courtesy of Dafydd Owain and Aled Hughes) as well as drums (Carwyn Williams) which were never part of Plu’s instrumentation before, well at least not on any of their studio recordings. Something about their amazing three-part harmonies feels different too, and makes this album sound slightly closer towards the alt- end of the alt-folk spectrum than its predecessors. Throughout the album, I literally couldn’t stop marvelling at how rich, expressive and extremely flexible ELan’s voice is! And Gwilym’s exquisite guitar play… I’ve always been in awe of his skills with all them beautiful stringed instruments and raved over them on here a lot, but I have a particular liking for how he plays the guitar in Plu, it makes all my brain cells shiver with happiness.
The album is not available in places like YouTube or Spotify or Apple Music or wherever else people typically listen to music these days, and given that Gwilym’s last album hasn’t made his way there to Spotify which is what I use, I believe it’s possible they don’t feel like having it on there. I have finally figured out though that (surprise, surprise! 🙃 ) you can also embed songs from Bandcamp on other websites, so that’s how I’ll share my joy with you.
Honestly though I had a real trouble picking out that ONE song that is the clear winner of this album for me, because I have several strong favourites. I eventually decided on Dod Dy Law mostly because I also really like this tune in general, and I’ve shared several different versions of it on my blog already so I thought it could be interesting for people to hear this one for comparison.
I’ve shared it sung by Gwilym, Siân James, and Gwenan Gibbard, and in the post with Gwenan Gibbard’s version you can also find its translation and a link to a lot more comprehensive post that Ffion from The Foxglove Trio wrote about this song on her blog. It’s a very sad, traditional tune written from the perspective of someone who addresses their lover, by whom their heart has been broken.
I like that Elan sings this song so low, with only a gentle guitar accompaniment from Gwilym, which makes the whole sound a bit dark and deep and so incredibly beautiful.
<a href=”https://pluband.bandcamp.com/album/tri” data-mce-href=”https://pluband.bandcamp.com/album/tri” data-mce-fragment=”1″>Tri by Plu</a>