Brython Shag : Brython Shag2016 : Sbensh
Allegedly named after a logo on a vintage t-shirt one of them owned, Brython Shag are an exciting, relatively new four piece band from Blaenau Ffestiniog, with two of the members, Ceri Cunnington (vocals) and Gai Toms (guitar) having served their time in the successful ska / funk band Anweledig.
Here they are joined by Deian Jones (ex Yr Anhygoel and Mr Huw) on bass and Jason Hughes (ex Frizbee) on drums. In this guise they have been playing together for a few years, honing songs and sound, indeed some of the recordings are from a Huw Stephens BBC session in 2014.
As this is the internet, and two paragraphs in some of you will already be tiring, let's cut to the chase - this album is ridiculously magnificent.
In sound and conception it is a mix of funk, punk and indie rock, with the odd bit of diversionary rapping and a hard techno ending. You can see where past Happy Mondays comparisons have come in; but where the Happy Mondays sounded chemically blissed out and urban, this is more what you would get if you locked four very talented musicians in a small town back street pub with only a copy of the Sounds of the Suburbs 80's new wave compilation for inspiration, and the instruction to play for their lives.
There is no stand out - the whole run of eleven songs is intense and glorious, from the opening steady rock of Bywyd ei hun, to the funk, rap and punk of Pink tu mewn (with Mr Phormula) to the choppy bass driven Dwnsia ne Granda. The bass and drums hold everything together with infectious rhythm and timing, the vocals are perfectly judged for the music, where it is needed Toms has the collapsing tower block guitar sound of Peter Buck on The Hindu Love Gods eponymous album, elsewhere he is deft.
It ends with the only fully English language song, the electrifying recoil of St Davids Cross (Inverted) which merges into St Davids Cross (Reverted) and reveals the techno piece, which works immaculately to close the set.
Thanks for sticking with me. Great songs, powerfully played; just stupidly and ridiculously superb.
BRYTHON SHAG I Dwnsia ne Granda