Monday, October 17, 2011

The Good Ship Rediscovery: FFA Coffi Pawb - Am Byth

We all forget about the older stuff from time to time, in our quest to stay up to speed with the latest and greatest. But one should always respect their elders. So don’t forget about them, y’hear?

One of my biggest regrets from my many months spent in the United Kingdom is that I never ever ever made it to Wales. Yeah, I don't know how that happened either, but it's an unfortunate fact. I have never been to Wales, and it makes me sad. However, I still love on some Welsh bands like there's no tomorrow. I believe it's already plenty well-established just how much I adore the Super Furry Animals, so I won't gush in that direction for the time being. However...before there was Super Furry Animals, there was...FFA Coffi Pawb. And it is this little collective which I shall now spread the love of forthwith.

Here's an abbreviated history for you. Once upon a time, Gruff and Daf of SFA were in a little band called FFA Coffi Pawb. This band was rather enamored of swinging 60s pop and healthily dosed in psychedelic sweetness. Am Byth acts as a sort of collection of their work, and it's a treasure. And never you mind if your Welsh is a little rusty, the songs are even more charming for their foreignness. Songs like "Valium" hint at the rogueish sonic wit that SFA imparts so often, and the cheeky refrain incorporating a little "vali-yum yum yum" into the Jesus & Mary Chain-lite fuzzed-up background noise offers up quite a saucy wink and a sly grin. "Allan O'i Phen" channels some baggy and some early Blur, perfect for doing those early Britpop era dances.

I love the bulk of songs like "Sega Segur," that get a little T. Rex up in here and walk with a chemically-induced swagger that is nothing if not exceedingly charming. Gruff's voice never quite gets to Bolan-esque theatrics, of course, but the spirit of the Rex (through Welsh rose-colored glasses, mind) on this song is very much alive and well. "Lluchia Dy Fflachlwch Drosda I" is right out of the 60s, adorably Zombies-esque and featuring raucous blasts of wild and woolly guitar. "Ffarout" is, well, far out. It's an intergalactic 60s technicolor dream pop song, and it's irresistable. The same can be said of the entire LP, production imperfections and all.

I love being able to hear the progression from the poppier, though still dang rockin' of course, strains of FFA Coffi Pawb to the furthest reaches of the spaceship the Super Furry Animals hijacked and continue to pilot through galaxies unknown. Am Byth is a mighty ffine listen, indeed.

mp3: Valium (FFA Coffi Pawb from Am Byth)

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