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Bill Ryder-Jones Iechyd Da Album Artwork
Iechyd Da Album Artwork

WE REVIEW THE NEW ALBUM FROM BILL RYDER-JONES – IECHYD DA

Bill Ryder-Jones’s work has always been intensely personal… songs of self-imposed solitude, desperation tinged with the feint belief of both hope and euphoria. Never afraid to disclose his fragile yearnings for something else and to put it all out there for the world to hear, it was perhaps that heartbreaking honesty that proved too uncomfortable for many, enabling Ryder-Jones to keep the low profile he seemingly desires. The bad news for Bill is this achingly beautiful record may be about to change that.

Self-produced by Bill at his studio on the northwest tip of the Wirral peninsula, ‘Iechyd Da’ is a masterpiece full of cinematic moments, of wonderfully scripted strings, sparse keys and hushed, almost mumbled vocals. It plays out as wide as the Dee estuary skies Bill must often look out on from his studio… it is a truly magnificent listen.

‘I Know That It’s Like This (Baby)’ tenderly leads us into the experience. The guitars are lethargic, the bass instantly familiar and the self-doubt, yearning and heartbreak are here almost immediately. ’ Baby, I thought I’d give the world a chance’ and ‘baby.. ba ba ba ba..one kiss and I’m in heaven’ all unravelled with the regretful realisation ‘I’m not enough… I know that it’s like this….’

‘If Tomorrow Starts Without Me’ may be the album’s most accessible track but its immediate predecessor, ‘A Bad Wind Blows In My Heart pt.3’ that provides the album’s truly magnificent moment. A song penned as a good riddance but a good riddance with a sense of longing for the times now lost.
‘Oh, how I loved you….’ bad wind blows through my heart…’ barely minutes in and the genius of Bill Ryder-Jones is not only evident, it’s overwhelming.

‘This Can’t Go On’ is a warmingly familiar soundscape masking the stark ‘You gotta get yourself together ‘cos this can’t go on’. It’s dark, it’s worryingly dark yet set to such an uplifting, ethereal string arrangement the hurt and desperation of the lyrics seem resolved

‘How Beautiful I Am’ is a whistful lament of a love lost and regret. It’s beautiful. The piano, the guitar, the strings, the choir of kids… the signature- change to a waltz nodding to Ryder-Jones singing ‘I’m dancing with shadows’ All of it, it’s all bloody beautiful

Instrumental ‘Nos Da’ (Good Night) tucks us in for the night and with its music box percussive keys and Elgaresque strings it’s an appropriately settling and dreamy end.

With ‘Iechyd Da’, Bill Ryder-Jones has made a record we all need.

oh, and just in case anyone is wondering…‘Iechyd Da’ is a Welsh toast meaning good health

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