Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard - Y Proffwyd Dwyll
You have to hand it to Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard, just for having the balls of a rhinoceros. Come up with a ridiculous name for your band, then silence those still laughing by putting a 30 minute doom masterpiece on your debut album. Make your first and sophomore albums unpronounceable. Release them less than a year apart and have the vim to make great strides in the intervening period. Confound expectations, and leave them smiling.
This Welsh quartet set the bar high with last year’s Noeth Ac Anoeth and the aforementioned half an hour epic, Nacthexen. The scene had been set: riffs the size of small continents over which Jessica Ball sprinkled angelic vocals. The obvious course of action would have been to showcase the album’s three songs at gigs for the next couple of years, but the Wrexham foursome had other ideas.
Y Proffwyd Dwyll is the sound of a band hitting its stride and finding a creative pulse. There is no radical departure here, just a significant upgrade. Paul Davies’s riffs are bigger, fatter, more widescreen. Ball’s vocals are multi-tracked and make her sound like heaven. There’s some adventurousness with the addition of Moogs and cellos, particularly on the mighty fine instrumental Gallego. But the full MMWB, where the goosebumps show themselves, comes with the double whammy of Valmasque and the title track - which might just be their crowning achievement. It sounds like the bastard offspring of a fourway one night stand between Kyuss, My Bloody Valentine, Hawkwind (when Lemmy was in it) and Lush.
High praise indeed.
Words: Andrew Field