Having sprinkled the landscape with the sunshine of Gabrielle 25 and later with The Peakz, the inmate of Penmachno that is Dan Amor unleashes his latest album Neigwl on November 23rd at Gwydir, Betws-y-Coed.
Legend has it that at the tender age of 14 Dan was hitch-hiking between Llanrwst and Betws and was picked up by 4Q, who subsequently kidnapped him, taking him to their gig in Portmadog. This allegedly inspired him to (unlike 4Q!) carve a career in music.
Having been brought up by wolves, who protected him from the pterodactyls circling above the village of Penmachno, Dan understandably nods in the direction of the mountains, the lakes, the weather, the fields and the seasons; but far from being a hippy drenched folk album, Neigwl is a sparkling gem floating in bong water.
Sitting pretty at the top of this collection is the title track, which is a gothic-folk mantra, flanked either side by more traditional folky stuff, but on the whole this could almost be a Bauhaus off-shoot release. Tracks like the opening Better The Angel You Know, Yr Anhaeddiannol, Lakeside and The Undeserving lend themselves to ‘Skys Gone Out’ era Bauhaus and Love & Rockets with a stripped down goth feel uplifted by Dan’s creme brulee textured voice (lemon flavour).
Artwork, as always by his mum, who has also created sleeves for The Kinks amongst others, Neigwl is a welcome addition to my eclectic collection. (soundcloud)
FOOTNOTE – Actually it wasn’t Dan we kidnapped, it was Noel from G25, here’s his story…One day back in 1989 when I was just 14 “i think” I was hitching a lift from Llanrwst to Betws y coed, to get to my job washing dishes, when a battered old car stopped (a Datsun me thinks) to give me a lift. The car was full of people smoking pot and equipment and there was no room for a doormouse let alone me, but still I was invited in for a lift, which I gratefully accepted. I squeezed into the back of the car and had to sit on someone’s knee due to the lack of space. As the car geared up its last bit of power to pull off, the person in the passenger seat introduced everybody and went on to ask me if I had heared of a band called 4Q. I had heared of the band, I replied, as they had caused chaos at a gig recently played in the British Legion in Llanrwst and were the talk of the school.
Someone in the back of the car handed me a copy of the Crud fanzine, which I gratefully accepted, someone else said don’t show it to your teachers, I won’t, I replied. As the car approached Betws y Coed I announced that it was great to meet everyone, and I would like to be dropped off round the next corner, to which the driver replied are you sure you don’t want to come to the gig tonight to see us play? I would love to, I said, but I had to go to work. At this point everyone in the car began to laugh and said come come to the gig. I can’t, I replied, this seemed to fall on empty ears as the car passed my destination, after pleading with the band to drop me off they finally let me out 4 miles futher up the A5 than I wanted to be. As I set off walking to Betws y Coed someone I knew stopped and offered me a lift to the village, what are you doing up this way? he asked. Don’t ask, I replied, you wouldn’t believe me. Luckily I was only half an hour late for work and only got a small bollocking.
The next day in school I felt like the cat who got all the cream as I was showing my friends the fanzine and telling them about my ordeal, later that day I was again showing the fanzine off when the head came over to see what was so amusing, nothing, I replied, but he had already seen me stuffing the fanzine into my jacket, I was sent to the office and got two weeks detention, and my parents were also informed (my old man pissed his sides) but my mom grounded me.
The next week I went out and bought Never Mind The Bollocks, and my first electric guitar (which I sold a week later). Looking back on it this was my first life changing experience and this point on, all I wanted to do was be in a band.
Neigwl – the third album from Dan Amor. Recorded by John Lawrence and Noel Jones. Produced by John Lawrence and Dan Amor. Dan’s band members are: Ben Ellis & George Amor (Sen Segur), Llyr Pari (Jen Jeniro, Cowbois Rhos Botwnnog) and Tom Jones (not the Tom Jones).
Available from Cae Gwyn Records , also available on iTunes. CD album available from Sadwrn.com, all good Welsh local record stores, and at gigs.