Home Read Albums Of The Week: Papur Wal | Amser Mynd Adra

Albums Of The Week: Papur Wal | Amser Mynd Adra

Slacker-rock & power-pop grow up on their Welsh trio's charming debut album.


THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Papur Wal have always been enticingly unique. They combine fearless slacker influences with infectious power-pop melodies into a beautifully raw musical mosaic that’s half early Beatles and half Lou Reed at his most power-chord thrashingly intense. What ties their songs together under the harmonies and fuzz is an unflinching desire to wear their hearts proudly on their sleeves.

Papur Wal are a classic pop trio from North Wales, formed in Cardiff in 2017. Ianto (vocals / guitar), Gwion (vocals / bass) and Guto (vocals / drums) were stowaways on the capital city’s streets, eager to make their creative mark and find a home in Cardiff’s diverse and exciting musical community. The years that followed found Papur Wal maintaining an intensive gigging schedule between the release of ambitious singles and an EP. These discs placed them at the forefront of a new generation of exceptional Welsh artists driven to follow their creativity through their native language, and in so doing gaining a wider and enthusiastic international audience attracted by the artists’ fearless storytelling and cliché-free musical expression.

The band once described as “ELO in a car accident with Slint” started the journey towards Amser Mynd Adra at the beginning of 2020. The release of the singles Meddwl am Hi and Piper Malibu in quick succession re-introduced Papur Wal as purveyors of perfectly crafted, three-minute pop gold.

With the trusted support of their long-time producer Kris Jenkins (Super Furry Animals, Cate Le Bon) on the desk, Papur Wal have crafted an emotive coming-of-age album. As with Neil Young’s After The Gold Rush, Amser Mynd Adra discusses maturing into the seemingly bleaker period of mid-20s adult life, away from the carefree abundance of young adulthood. As Ianto explains, “moving out from living with friends into the rest of your life, the fear of missing out, the everyday existential crisis, the guilt that comes with not knowing what to do next, separation anxiety and a new way of living your life that makes it all the more difficult to go back to do what you used to do.”

Rhwng Dau Feddwl, Arthur and Meddwl am Hi open the album in a flurry of unforgettable melodies and perfectly display the dichotomy at play within Papur Wal’s full-length debut. It’s these contrasting desires — to embrace the future with all its uncertainties yet at the same time still hankering for the carefree horizons of youth — that bring a strong and relatable narrative ark to Amser Mynd Adra.

Meddwl am Hi, with its Big Star chordplay, was the first song that the band wrote that marked their transition from ’90s alternative / art rock to a more ’70s pop-inspired songwriting and arrangements. It established a poppy and melodic back-to-basics style that is evident on Brychni Haul, with its early Beatles wistfulness recalling and embracing the good time.

Andrea a Fi refers to Ianto losing his belongings on holiday in Italy, and finding them the next day with his notebook full of short Italian poems written by an unknown passer-by. “I translated his poem to Welsh and English and it’s pretty deep and beautiful.” The album is full of these accidental moments that become beacons of connection, new joyful memories that carry you above the dark clouds. The song that exemplifies this on the album is Llyn Llawenydd, it’s melody like early ’70s West Cost sunshine dancing on the water and beckoning you in, it’s Crosby, Stills and Nash backed by a timeless Merseybeat rhythm. This perfect summer song was Gwion and Ianto’s first attempt at writing together. It’s a song about a “place you can go with the people that matter, to get away from it all. It isn’t necessarily a lake, and the weather isn’t always perfect, but you’ll come home feeling better, thinking about it till you can go back again”

Amser Mynd Adrais is an album that you will go back to time and time again. Be it for Arthur’s captivating melodic hooks, Haul Chwefror’s chamber pop, Penblwydd Hapus’s infectious throwaway charm or Nôl ac yn ôl’s universal theme of loss of time and loved ones exasperated by the last 18 months of worry and uncertainty. Amser Mynd Adra offers the listener empathy within its melancholy, sadness succinctly counterbalanced with playful lyrics, catchy hooks, upbeat, warm sounds.”