Galw : The Lions and the Wolves15.07.2017
A duo from Anglesey, Galw (English : Call) comprises singer songwriter Paul Williams and singer Charli Lamont. Galw's debut showed a lot of promise, with just one or two caveats - their new collection delivers on that potential, without reservation. The Lions and the Wolves is a dark offering - the intensely personal subjects of the songs (if it's not in some sense about a torn or broken relationship the chance a lyric made the final cut are substantially less than evens) mean it has an enduring tone of late night folk-noir.
From the first track, The Passion, with its epic, inconsolable call and response between the contrasting vocals of Paul and Charli, to the last, Our Blood, there is an often heart rending emotional honesty in the music. The mood is confirmed with sparse, open arrangements - with a constant foundation of muted guitar and the intermittent, and always well judged, addition of flute (Sarah Roberts) and violin (Huw Roberts) to add colour.
The Glass showcases what Charli can do singing alone - a gently strummed guitar frames an elegant and moving vocal performance; she is just as emotionally compelling delivering Freak Show. Paul takes the lead equally, especially effective on the plaintive Hiraeth (sung in Welsh), and Young Forever (which has an almost unbearably sad theme) - his recording voice has developed from the debut album, it always had character, now is stronger and immediately engaging.
Well written, arranged and played, at times elemental and bleak, but always absorbing, this is a very good album. Charli Lamont sings her heart out - whatever the inspiration, Paul's lyrics seem to have scoured around the depths of his. The end result is gently mesmeric, like the lost time staring at the flames of an autumn fire, and repeated listens bring their own reward.