Album Review

Bill Ryder-Jones - Iechyd Da

A truly cathartic listening experience.

Bill Ryder-Jones - Iechyd Da

The latest from Bill Ryder-Jones is a showpiece statement of folk-balladry and beatific maximalism. For an artist who’s so often cosied himself into the intimate corners of scuzzed-up slowcore (see 2018’s ‘Yawn’) or pared-back, home-spun reflections (2013’s ‘A Bad Wind Blows In My Heart’), ‘Iechyd Da’ - welsh for ‘Good Health’, and a nod to the singer’s heritage - feels like a heavenward leap of faith. From sampling disco strings and Brazilian singer Gal Costa’s ‘60s classic ‘Baby’, to brain-warping spoken word interludes, no idea here has seemed too ‘far out’ to be within Bill’s grasp. Amid references to Die Hard 2, American Dad, and Echo and the Bunnymen’s ‘The Killing Moon’, the 13-song set is also packed with more than a handful of pessimistic lyrical turns - “I just don’t see myself getting past this one,” he sings, for example, in ‘Nothing to Be Done’ in his distinctive Scouse drawl. Despite this, the overriding lusciousness permeating every arrangement on ‘Iechyd Da’ douses us in a joyous, unplaceable euphoria. It’s a truly cathartic listening experience, driven by the belief that our darkest moments can only be alleviated if we sing about them beautifully enough.

Tags: Bill Ryder-Jones, Reviews, Album Reviews

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