REVIEW: Ble Cei Di Ddod I Lawr” from the Welsh folk-pop syndicate Derw

Truly compelling melodies tend to transcend language barriers altogether, and if you didn’t believe this before hearing the new single “Ble Cei Di Ddod I Lawr” from the Welsh folk-pop syndicate Derw, I think this track’s sound is going to change your mind. Whether it’s attacking the ascent towards a climactic hook or wrapping around us alongside a boldly colorful piano part, the vocal in this song doesn’t ask for us to be well-versed in the Welsh language so much as it requests less than four minutes of our time to stimulate as many of our senses as possible. Derw might not have much name recognition in the western hemisphere, but with material like this, it’s hard for me to imagine their remaining a purely underground sensation for long.

The piano and the guitar get into a mild duel in “Ble Cei Di Ddod I Lawr,” but their implied jabs never take anything away from the warm tonality of the harmony they jointly forge with the vocal. There are a couple of instances here in which it’s a little difficult to discern where the vocal starts and the instrumentation ends, but I wouldn’t chock this up to a cloudy production design at all; on the contrary, this is merely a testament to how well gelled Derw are when they’re firing on all cylinders. Their passion isn’t limited to words and essential hooks alone — it’s boundless, and no matter what your taste in music is, my gut tells me you’re going to pick up on their devotion to the medium in this track.

You definitely don’t need any sort of a translator to feel the personal nature of the poetry our singer is crooning to us, and to some extent, I think there’s more being expressed via the fabric of the harmony than there is any specific elements in “Ble Cei Di Ddod I Lawr.” When you’re working with the kind of multifaceted talent these players are, there isn’t as much demand to structure a piece of a material similarly to your peers or, for that matter, target one audience’s affections over another. This is the kind of relaxed pop sound that could turn anyone into a Cambrophile, and considering how many intriguing artists have been popping up from the European indie circuit on American stereos lately, Derw’s sudden rise to fame definitely shouldn’t be scoffed at.

If you take a look at the music scene in the United Kingdom at the moment, even with extenuating circumstances being as they are in the world with regards to live performance in 2020, you’ll find it’s home to an overflowing talent pool. With that said, Derw drop a really rousing find in “Ble Cei Di Ddod I Lawr” that has the potential to turn more than a few heads both at home and abroad, mostly on the strength of its unpredictably stinging harmonies. “Ble Cei Di Ddod I Lawr” is simple yet completely devoid of the mindless pop attributes that frequently plague similar concepts on the mainstream side of the genre, and if that sounds like something you’d be interested in, I’d keep this band on your radar for more of this content in the future.

Colin Jordan

Graduate: McNeese State University, Avid Beekeeper, Deep Sea Diver & Fisherman, Horrible Golfer