Datblygu Wyau LP reissue
If DATBLYGU’s reputation precedes them, that reputation is likely being “the Welsh response to the FALL,” and/or serving as a crucial influence for a crop of bands in the ’90s that sounded a lot like the FALL (see: COUNTRY TEASERS). Following a string of early/mid-’80s cassettes in more of a skeletal, no-fi bedroom DIY style, the explicit FALL debts really started to take shape on DATBLYGU’s first vinyl offering, 1986’s Hwgr-Grawth-Og EP, and their 1988 debut LP Wyau. The parallels are easy to spot—the speed-addled specter of Mark E. Smith looms behind vocalist David R. Edwards’ caustic narrations (delivered almost exclusively in Welsh), while the instrumental backing from Patricia Morgan and T. Wyn Davies demonstrates a FALL-worthy devotion to minimalism and repetition, largely centered around little more than rudimentary drum machine, busted guitar twang, and droning keyboard. But Edwards’ lyrics also often addressed class and social issues with a very un-Mark E. leftist pointedness (can you imagine the FALL ever contributing a song to an animal rights benefit comp?), and DATBLYGU was truly a post-punk band in the literal sense of the term, drawing as much inspiration from experimental and dance and folk music (among many other things) as anything found in the FALL playbook. For my money, this is their finest hour: the electro-pulse, borderline industrial clamor of “Cristion Yn Y Kibbutz,” “Dafydd Iwan Yn Y Glaw” and “Tymer Aspirin” hitting that totally wired Rough Trade-era FALL sweet spot, the biting and hilarious take-down of the cult of MORRISSEY on “Fanzine Ynfytyn” (Ben Wallers was absolutely paying attention to that one), just legit fucked-up brilliance. Rest in power David R. Edwards, who passed away in June, less than a month after Wyau and the 1990 follow-up LP Pyst were brought back into vinyl circulation—no time like the present to seek out both records and pay your rates to the departed.