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Steam Pie Records  SPCD10165

Every time I listened to this recording, I came away with a different impression. Let me emphasise that none of them were bad, just different, and I still can’t make my mind up about it. Perhaps I was expecting more exclusively Welsh material, and I did have one or two issues with the way the band were recorded, but overall I enjoyed nearly all of it.

I haven’t heard Allan yn y Fan live, but I’d like to – I’ll bet they’re better that way. They reminded me of the bands we used to have for a sort of Fest Noz on the farm years ago: gutsy, danceable and obviously heavily influenced by continental folk music, and they’re great at coming up with some smooth and clever changes between one tune and the next. At the same time, there are some memorable items penned by the band, of which I would have to single out the beautiful Lle Arall, a deftly constructed slow air that will stay in the mind for a long time and demonstrates the band’s versatility, and which will, I hope, achieve a wide circulation among musicians everywhere. The same could be said of the other air on the CD, Arafu.

There are shifts of mood throughout this CD, and nowhere more than in the vocal numbers, and it was here that I had a few doubts about the recording. If you have (as here) a lead singer with a clear, almost classical voice that doesn’t fit the “folky” mould, then a slightly bare recording treatment can sound very unsupported by the accompaniment, and this is in danger of happening a couple of times. However, the quality of the singing and the interesting choice of songs carries the day, although Twinkle Twinkle was a surprise!

Overall, I think I liked it. And I will definitely try to get to see Allan yn y Fan live as soon as I get the opportunity. I suggest you do too.

John Waltham

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This album was reviewed in Issue 92 of The Living Tradition magazine.