Even though it’s been a long while between albums, the thoughts of Plant Duw have constantly been on the songs which slowly form between us: rough ideas blowing in the breeze before planting roots and growing stronger, within the walls of the band’s messy but fruitful garden. The gardeners only get the chance of visiting it every once in a while, and sometimes not even together, but they continue to work tirelessly, keeping the songs alive and encouraging them to bloom into unique flowers which demand attention.
And so the album Tangnefedd [Serenity] came into being – a collection of songs which represent the latest chapter in the history of this secretive band from north-west Wales. “Plant Duw?” you ask – “Are they still going?” We forgive your doubtfulness, but despite the lack of live shows (because of the band’s spread across life’s varying paths), we are still alive.
Since 2004, the style of the band has evolved from the core of punk and funk music to something less easily defined, but which is certainly rooted in soul, hard rock and folk. These influences still ring through our work while we search for new ways of expressing ourselves. So you’ll hear the echoes of Stax and Motown in songs like ‘Faint O Betha Wyt Ti’n Gal?’ [‘How Many Things Do You Get?’] and ‘Trempyn’ [‘Tramp’], the album’s poppiest and most playful songs, whilst retaining a tight and hard dynamic. There is also an element of social commentary in ‘Faint O Betha Wyt Ti’n Gal?’ (political corruption) and ‘Cant’ [‘Hundred’] (apathy and self-preservation) – a song which harkens bach to our hard punk roots. There are also songs which reflect some of the band’s love of Celtic folk music – ‘Mae Na Ferch Yn Disgwyl Amdana I’ (‘There’s A Girl Waiting For Me’) – in addition to our interest in spiritual, gospel and Americana, such as in ‘Purhau Fy Enaid’ (‘Purifying My Soul’).
The two songs which form the centrepiece of the album – ‘Ti Dal Yn Fyw’, ‘Y Tri Llyn’ (‘You’re Still Alive’, ‘The Three Lakes’) – display a mixture of tenderness and heaviness, while introducing an otherwordly atmosphere through the use of brass instruments. They explore the nature of dreams and nightmares, and their relationship with our experiences in the real world.
Hard rock and crunching guitars come back to the fore in ‘Hanner Call’ [‘Half Sane’], a song about the modern world’s obsession with image, wealth and self-importance. It’s followed by ‘Clochdar Y Ceiliog’ [‘The Cockerel’s Crow’], the band’s playful attempt to imitate Sweet Baboo, Joni Mitchell, and Russian cartoons from the 1960s. The album ends with ‘Afagddu’. In the story of Taliesin, the son of the goddess Ceridwen was named Morfran, whose ugliness was enough to spawn the cruel nickname which gives the song its name. In this context, it deals with depression, anxiety, happiness, and peace of mind. The song is dark but hopeful, and draws on the rhythms, structures and moods of the immortal Fela Kuti while retaining a quintessentially Welsh melancholy.
We are proud to introduce a complete body of work which represents a varied period in our lives. We hope to play the material live in the months to come, and to combine this with videos to accompany the songs. And of course, we hope to give you, the listener, a little entertainment to take your mind off our nightmarish reality.
With soul, punk, and love,
Plant Duw x