My review of the latest album from Pigyn Clust was published in issue 79 of The Living Tradition.
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Enaid (Fflach CD309H)
"Enaid" is the latest album from this Welsh five-piece folk band. Pigyn Clust combines the familiar sounds of guitar, bouzouki and fiddle with the distinctive tones of Cass Meurig's crwth -- an antiquated string instrument, closely associated with the Welsh tradition that lends an almost medieval atmosphere to the band's sound.
The instrumental pieces are expertly played out, with tight arrangements that reveal relatively formal structures. It would make for more animated listening if they'd break free from this sometimes and find a ragged edge, take a risk, and throw caution to the wind. Nevertheless, the blend of stringed instruments is at times shimmering, and in particular Endaf ap Ieuan's bouzouki augments well, with intricate rhythms providing a lighter contrast to the bleaker moments.
The voice of lead-singer, Ffion Haf, is possessed with a resplendently pure beauty, though on the more up-tempo numbers she tends to sing with an austerity that often fails to evoke the raw passion and empathy that many singers from other Celtic traditions manage so naturally. Ffion's finest moments on "Enaid" are on the unaccompanied opening half of "Ar Fore Dydd Nadolig," where her haunting vocal transcends utmost serenity, or the hymnal "Neges Gabriel," where she sounds like an angel from the highest heavens.
The sleeve notes are sparse, so you can't really get under the skin of what they're doing or why they've chosen to do it, which is frustrating on an album of largely traditional material, when such detail is often of interest.