Y Niwl continue to play their own brand of instrumental surf rock on their fourth release, appropriately titled “Y Niwl 4”. With a blend of tremolo-ridden guitars, driving lo-fi drums, and simple infectious bass lines, this four piece from North Wales truly sounds like a reincarnation from the 1960’s surf rock scene. In addition to their surf rock sound, they include textures indicative of spaghetti westerns and old spy films. “Y Niwl 4” contains Y Niwl’s most confident and mature tunes to date.
“Y Niwl 4” starts out with Dauddegtri, their most energetic tune, clocking in at 1:44. With a heavy electric organ and a splashy guitar trading sloshy solos, it sounds like Y Niwl’s response to the classic Wipeout. The rest of the tunes on the record are mellower, usually sticking to a light yet playful tempo. They ditched their heavy electric keyboards for most of this album and replaced it with feel-good single-coil guitar riffs, which serve as the melody on most of “Y Niwl 4.” Dauddegun, their standout track, sums up what Y Niwl does best; interlacing a lifting melody with moody minor-key surf guitars over a marching rhythm section, creating a vibe so contagious that it would have certainly caught the attention of Quentin Tarintino when he was assembling the soundtrack to Pulp Fiction.
Whether it conjures up images of Greg Noll in his famous striped boardshorts (Undegnaw), a young Sean Connery as Bond handling his Walther PPK (Dauddegpedwar), or Clint Eastwood galloping through the arid desert (Dauddegun), this band is all about the mood it creates. Enunciating the band’s name (apparently pronounced “uh nule”) is difficult enough, so never mind trying to say the song titles. But if you are looking for the perfect record to spin at a retro beach party, this is the record for you. Y Niwl continues to create music that takes us back in time. And whether they’re riding surfboards or horses, we just hope they keep on riding.