Boomkat Product Review:
Richard Dawson and co’s unique troupe Hen Ogledd brim with timeless indie-disco-pop pep and folksy whim in the follow-up to ‘Magic’ and their killer ’Bronze’ slab.
Notably also counting Dawn Bothwell, Rhodri Davies, and Sally Pilkington (Bulbils) in their number, Hen Ogledd tap back into a strong vein of classic and experimental indie songwriting, fusing ideas from late ‘70s and early ‘80s post-punk and disco-not-disco with more arcane influence from British folk and psychedelia in a sorta familiar but pretty much unprecedented way.
Unmistakeably and pleasingly accented by the sort of Geordie falsetto found on Dawson’s prized solo works, as well as Bothwell and Pilkingotn’s harmonised lilt and snarls, the songs are sometime a bit too much brio for more furrowed heads, but anyone open to a bit of daft pop charm will find something to cling to in ‘Free Humans’.
The results are generally less rabbly than our fave of theirs ‘Bronze’, and more prone to colour and lushness from the uplifting processing of ‘farewell’ to the Wire-like indie-disco drive of ‘Earworm’, and and the acid house disco plushness of ‘Time Party’ or the cantering pomp of ‘Crimson Star’, where Dawson’s vocals genuinely got us chuckling. However it doers get freakier and twisted with ’Skinny Dippers’, a curiously gothic-meets-Italo ode to the thrill of wild swimming, and the impishly possessed hot-step of ‘The Loch Ness Monster’s Song’ for rugged good balance to the effortless elided contradictions of their music.