Gwenno - Le Kov album review

Multilingual ex-Pipette’s electro-psych second

Gwenno - Le Kov album artwork

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At first glance, Gwenno Saunders’ staunch loyalty to the dual mother tongues that loom largest in her lineage (her debut Y Dydd Olaf album was sung exclusively in Welsh, its Le Kov successor entirely in Cornish) speaks of a tendency toward isolationist traditionalism. But not a bit of it. While there is a conceptual leaning toward the legends surrounding lost Brythonic cities, folk and folklore, the bewitching, pulsing, pastoral throb of Herdhya liltingly bemoans the “feeling of isolation after the Brexit vote”. Re-establishing Cornish as a living language in this most contemporary of sonic settings (a rich electro-pop-literate strand of psychedelia) seems way more intent on inclusive progression than exclusive regression. Elsewhere, against the motorik-lite Cornwallian kosmische of Eus Keus?, Gwenno embarks upon a lyrical journey toward enlightenment, asking – like generations of questing druids before her – ‘Is there cheese?’ Neither lousy with self-righteous purism nor devoid of humour, Gwenno has delivered a second solo album that charms in its powerful presentation of the Cornish tongue as exotic and otherworldly, hinting at dark secrets while demanding Yarg.

Ian Fortnam

Classic Rock’s Reviews Editor for the last 20 years, Ian stapled his first fanzine in 1977. Since misspending his youth by way of ‘research’ his work has also appeared in such publications as Metal Hammer, Prog, NME, Uncut, Kerrang!, VOX, The Face, The Guardian, Total Guitar, Guitarist, Electronic Sound, Record Collector and across the internet. Permanently buried under mountains of recorded media, ears ringing from a lifetime of gigs, he enjoys nothing more than recreationally throttling a guitar and following a baptism of punk fire has played in bands for 45 years, releasing recordings via Esoteric Antenna and Cleopatra Records.