Druids And Bards by Holy Coves

Release date: October 14, 2022
Label: Yr Wyddfa

The last thing we probably thought we needed right now would be a return to the earnest big music of the likes of U2, but as Holyhead’s Holy Coves are keen to prove, maybe this is just what we need in what seem to have been called unprecedented times forever now. Featuring singer-songwriter Scott Marsden, and guitarist John Lawrence, previously of Welsh legends Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci, there is a pedigree here, but one shorn of any egotistical pretensions.

Instead it’s a confidence that really pushes the music on their debut album, Druids And Bards, and over the course of it, you feel yourself swept away with its melodic charms. Purveyors of the kind of music which evokes widescreen landcscapes whilst vocals evoke a yearning for the intimate, it’s at once vital, but also surprisingly nostalgic.

With soaring choruses and chiming guitars, laden in with fuzzy moments, the opening tracks of this album are really quite terrific. The assured delivery of ‘The Hurt Within’ being a particular highlight, until the fluidity of approach really hits heady heights a few songs later on the excellent ‘Small And Nothing’. They are hardly reinventing the wheel here, but you can’t help but nod along in appreciation.

Sadly, they are unable to quite keep the momentum up and the album loses its way a bit as songs such as ‘Just Another Day’ settle for a rather humdrum groove. It takes until ‘Welcome To The Real World’ to return to the excitement of earlier, although the sheen seems to have been slightly removed now.

‘Taste The Wine’ brings the album to its conclusion and evokes that wonderful promise that the first half of the album presented. Overall, Druids And Bards is a highly satisfying listen, if not offering anything in the way of challenging music. Then again, in these unprecedented times, maybe that really is just what we need.

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