9Bach : Tincian
The fragile song has been dished up in many forms this year. Tune-Yards served Nikki Nack with their own brand of eccentricity and cosmopolitan left-turn to much acclaim, while Marissa Nadler took Lana Del Ray’s template for dark aloofness and honed to a finer point with July. Kishi Bashi adorned his warm wistful vocals with flighty and whimsical violin for a summer’s morning, day and evening, while The Barr Brothers took all the tropes of classic acoustic folk and sprinkled it lightly with electronica and reverb. All of them excellent.
But this year, its 9Bach’s sophomore album Tincian that takes top marks. That it is sung in Welsh is irrelevant. Each song is heartfelt; its intent clear as a bell. Lisa Jen’s voice is front and center, strong and attention seeking, Beth Gibbons with fewer cigarettes. Behind her, each arrangement is delicate and often sparse. Sometimes it verges into Portishead territory, sometimes it seeks core Welsh traditions - a Welsh male voice choir appears on Ffarwel - but ultimately it’s very much its own unique sound and for that 9Bach is lauded.