With Welsh band Yr Eira’s ‘Map Meddwl’, obvious comparisons could be made to their native counterparts, Super Furry Animals, especially on the album’s opener ‘Middle of Nowhere’. There’s a dreamy, lo-fi sound and a blend of drifting, sweeping guitar sounds while we’re told to ‘follow us on a journey and make sure to listen to these melodies’.
It’s an appropriate message because if you don’t speak Welsh, the melodies are what will draw you in. Each track ebbs and weaves its way through uplifting hooks and choruses that are as beautiful as the Welsh landscape itself.
Vocalist Lewy Wyn sings in his native language for the majority of the album and this contributes to the authentic feel of each song. His gentle voice has an occasional gravelly rawness and it’s clear he can turn on the attitude and belt out a song when he needs to while knowing when to hold back and letting the melody speak for itself.
There’s even room for a more conventional rocker on ‘Pob Nôs’, which Wyn clearly revels in singing. Comparisons to the Stereophonics are hard to ignore but that’s certainly not a bad thing. This is continued in the same vein with the anthemic ‘Galw Ddoe Yn Ôl’, but not before the soothing, lullaby-sound of ‘Newid’.
Yr Eira have been playing festivals for a good few years now, including T in the Park and Sound City and, with every song on ‘Map Meddwl’ a crowd pleaser, it’s easy to hear why.
It’s become a rare thing to hear a band that sound like they’re having fun, to hear an authenticity which in turn grabs the listener and lifts them up.
It’s a shame Yr Eira may miss out on the summer festivals this year as this is an album that’s crying out to be played to a crowd of revellers, basking away in the sunshine with a lukewarm cider.
If you do want that festival feeling, ‘Map Meddwl’ is probably the closest you’ll get without leaving your house.
‘Map Meddwl’ is released May 15 on I KA CHING.