Released on Crai Records (CRAI067)
(NME review) ‘Pwy Sy’n Galw?’ luxuriates in the zeitgeist-heated olympic-sized swimming pool of New Welsh Kool; supporting Catatonia’s stadium dates and Super Furry Animals’ millennium bash brought Waunfawr-born four-piece Big Leaves widespread attention, after a slew of acclaimed low-key EPs and singles. Not that the band are coasting on cool-by-association; Big Leaves’ debut LP drips with a flavour of pop magic peculiarly their own…
Rifling through a trunk full of unfashionable ’70s glam-pop, Big Leaves pull out gargantuan velvet-flared choruses and stack-heeled Day-Glo melodies and try them on for size. On the evidence of crunching opener, ‘Dilyn Dy Drwyn’ (translation: ‘Follow Your Nose’), they fit perfectly, deftly setting off their freshly-inked Slade tattoos. Pausing merely to shatter your speaker cones with the bloody-minded title track (translation: ‘Who’s Calling?’), singer Rhodri Sion dons a low-cut skintight leotard (like Freddie Mercury wore on the ‘Bo Rhap’ vid) and out-Queens Queen on the operatic-boogie of ‘Seithenyn’ (translation: um… er… sorry…). Phew!
The flashpoint between ‘Radiator’-era Furries and early Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci, ‘Pwy Sy’n Galw?’ is the sound of a robust, concise, self-aware pop nous refusing to deny its more sprawling, pastoral leanings. Yes, it’s a defiantly ’70s-scented stomp, but like those aforementioned fellow countrymen, Big Leaves refuse to play straight, to fall into the retro tarpit – they’re too busy having fun with the history and language of pop to lose themselves in destructive reverence. Which is, most certainly, a good attitude.