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Gwenno - Le Kov album review

Multilingual ex-Pipette’s electro-psych second

Gwenno - Le Kov album artwork

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

Commissioning both album reviews and live reviews, Classic Rock reviews editor Ian has been fearlessly filtering the rock from the cock since 2003.