ABOUT THIS ITEM
Y Niwl, the string-twanging, tremelo arm-waggling, beat-bashing guitar combo from the wilds of Wales, have started a surf-rock revolution. Despite its less than timely dead-of-winter appearance, the band’s eponymous 2010 debut hit big with critics in thrall to its classic instrumental sound. It won fans in Gruff Rhys, who adopted them as his backing band and described them as “post-rockers gatecrashing a Tarantino soundtrack”, and Richard Hawley, who took them on tour and described them as “the best surf band in Wales. They could actually be the only surf band in Wales”. Best of all, their track Undegpedwar was used as the theme for Football Focus last season: “A lifetime’s ambition come true,” says bassist Sion Glyn.
All that time on the road has paid dividends – not only has it made them a crack live unit, but they found inspiration to write a batch of six brilliant new tunes which they’re now set to present: “4” is another serving of sweet, surfin’, soul soup.. As much as Y Niwl recall the surf guitar greats Dick Dale, The Surfaris, The Champs, Joe Meek and The Shadows, their brilliant, modern reinvention of the form has led to a reappraisal of those original surf rockers. Thanks to a conversation the band had with one Nolan Pittman in Nashville last year, the man from Dunn, North Carolina – birthplace of Link Wray – was moved to appeal to the local authorities to honour their native son, including clips and links to Y Niwl in all communications. Now, the city has proclaimed an annual Link Wray Day and music festival, and Pittman thanked the band for being “the source for the energy and inspiration of this project.”
Pronounced ‘Uh Nule’ and translated as ‘The Fog’, Y Niwl comprises Alun Evans (guitar), Sion Glyn (bass) and Gruff ab Arwel (organ and guitar) plus new drummer Llyr Pari. They claim to own no surf rock beyond an old cassette of The Shadows. The uniqueness of being the world’s first Welsh surf rock band hasn’t escaped Y Niwl themselves. “North West Wales isn’t a place you'd usually associate with surf music,” they say. “Instead of sexy Californians cruising along a beach in their sunglasses, think hairy men in anoraks huddled together for warmth in a mountainside cottage.”