PLU -Tri (Sbrigyn Ymborth SY034)

TriPlu’s new album was released earlier this year so I must first apologise for not getting around to it until now. Tri is the fourth album by Caernarfonshire siblings, Elan, Marged and Gwilym Rhys who are joined here by musicians Carwyn Williams, Dafydd Owain and Edwin Humphreys. No, I don’t know why the record is called Tri which, of course, means three but perhaps one of them doesn’t count. Welsh is a lovely language for singing but Plu take that further by largely eschewing the tradition and concentrating more on contemporary material. Add to this the production by Aled Wyn Hughes of the marvellous Cowbois Rhos Botwnnog and the result is a delightful mixture of folk and pop.

The first four tracks are written by Elan Rhys. The opener, ‘Dinistrio Ni’, is a delicate song built on acoustic guitar with the trio’s beautiful harmonies supported by powerful but understated drums and some sweet lead guitar. The track builds up towards the end to prepare us for the more dynamic ‘Llun Ar Y Setl’ in which the acoustic guitar and the vocals are more powerful. It’s back to softness for ‘Porth Samddal’ – except for a passage towards the end – and the lovely ‘Ben I Waered’ and the first of two traditional songs, the beautiful ‘Dod Dy Law’. Then, ‘Gweld Dim’, written by Gwilym, begins with an insistent drum figure and that lead guitar comes in again interleaving with the voices.

Marged Rhys wrote ‘Storm Dros Ben Y Fâl’ and her style is rather different from Elan or Gwilym’s. It’s not quite rock’n’roll but it’s straining at the leash and the lead guitar is turned up a bit. Possibly the best track in the collection, I’d say. ‘Ddim Ar Gael’ was written by Barry Jones, about whom I know nothing except that he wrote a peach of a song. ‘Deio’r Glyn’ is the second traditional song but it doesn’t sound like it as the vocals are treated to give a sharp, echoey edge. ‘Càn Pryderi’, another lovely song, is taken from Robin Williamson’s Music For The Mabinogi – he called it ‘Pryderi’s Song’ and possibly borrowed bits of the melody – but it makes for a superb finish.

I apologise again for neglecting Tri but it worth the wait.

Dai Jeffries

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