9Bach Album Review – Tincian – 10th June 2014

I saw 9Bach playing at +Komedia Brighton last week, I was blown away by their performance – see my review here. Here is my track by track rundown of their album Tincian which was released on 12th May 2014. As the titles are in all Welsh, as all of the tracks are (excluding Asteri Mou which is in Greek), I have written the translations in parentheses afterwards. The album is fantastically folky and wonderfully Welsh and is well worth a listen! Below is an album sampler where you can hear snippets of each track.

1. Lliwau (Colours)

Sparse and chilled out with a gentle drum groove, psychadelic 70’s guitar lines and an exposed vocal, Lliwau is actually a song comparing colours to the beauty of childbirth. The chorus translates to “Pretty you are like colours” just in case you wondered what you were singing along to, as it has a very catchy melody.

2. Llwynog (Fox)

Lisa Jên (lead singer of 9Bach) spoke passionately when introducing this song, declaring it a song for the underdog fox who managed to escape from the farmer, his shotgun and his dog. It can’t help but bring to mind Wes Anderson‘s 2009 film “Fantastic Mr. Fox” with George Clooney voicing the eponymous fox. So imagine this is a song about George Clooney being hunted in the Welsh countryside if you like. 

3. Pebyll

Pebyll is a ruin located in Llanddewi, a small village in mid-Wales. The song was written after Lisa discovered it whilst walking her dog. Laced with silky elvish-sounding vocals, this track is smoother than James Bond at a cocktail party.

4. Plentyn (Child)

Starting off with breathy three-part vocal harmony, this song tells an unsettling fictional story based on a real life event of a child that is stolen away from its mother at a very young age. The additional percussive rhythms and slide guitar create a rich texture for this tragic story.

5. Wedi Torri (It’s broken)

From one dark song to the next, Wedi Torri is about witnessing somebody that you love in a broken state, and the effect that it has on you as you try to desperately piece them together, often at the cost of yourself.

6. Pa Le (Which place?)

Spacious with eerie backing vocals, this traditional song is about the search for a loved one years after they were last seen. Complete with a harp breakdown section which is very pretty.

7. Ffarwél (Farewell)

An unsurprisingly somber track based on a poem from a book of locally gathered songs in Bethesda. The poem is about a quarry reflecting on the times that he used to enjoy with his friends, many of whom had since passed. The chorus of male voices adds an epic filmy sound as well as additional emotional depth to the track. 


8. Llwybrau (Pathways)

A haunting piano opens the track, with a serene, piercing and catchy vocal melody garnishing it sweetly, building up slowly as the rest of the instruments come in and worldless vocal harmonies take over. 

9. Babi’r Eirlys (Snowdrop Baby)

Full of vocal harmonies, this beautiful track is completely a capella, with reverb-laden voices layering up a rich and sleek texture
  
10. Asteri Mou (My Star)

Sung in Greek, Lisa’s third language Asteri Mou has guitar slides, a delicate melody and a nice piano hook which is imitated by the harp. Whilst building towards the end, it is a quite subdued end to the album, winding down rather than going out with a bang, but with this type of music, that is what you want.

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