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Bran (Brān)

Prog Folk

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Bran (Brān) Hedfan album cover
2.75 | 6 ratings | 3 reviews | 0% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1976

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Nodau Hud (4:31)
2. Rhosyn Gwyllt (3:51)
3. Egwyl (2:43)
4. Mae'r Mynydd Acw (3:10)
5. Dyddiau Dwys (5:22)
6. Ar Glem (3:40)
7. Hapus Awr (5:08)
8. Dewch Ynghyd (3:05)
9. Hon Yw Dy Gan (3:07)
10. Hiraeth (3:28)

Total Time 38:05

Line-up / Musicians

- John Gwyn / guitars, vocals
- Nest Howells / vocals, keyboards
- Paul Westwell / drums
- Dafydd Pierce / guitars

Releases information

LP Sain 1070M (UK)
MC Sain C570 (UK)

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BRAN (BRĀN) Hedfan ratings distribution

(6 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(0%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(17%)
Good, but non-essential (33%)
Collectors/fans only (33%)
Poor. Only for completionists (17%)

BRAN (BRĀN) Hedfan reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by ClemofNazareth
2 stars Brān takes a major detour on their second album, veering strongly away from prog folk territory in favor of a clearly commercial approach to both songwriting and performing. Nearly every track on this album consists of simple, kitschy rock with gratuitous wailing and bluesy guitar riffs where acid folk noodling once existed, and precious little of Nest Howells’ vocals or delicate piano. Only one track manages to stand out here (“Dyddiau Dwys”), and even there the band resorts to studio gimmickry in the form of needless vocal echoing and a closing male accompanying vocal line that is both unnecessary and distracting.

And unfortunately the group follows that with their heaviest and most commercial track to-date, the hard-rocking, hair-swirling ditty “Ar Glem” which also serves notice that their brief folksy days are officially behind them. Howells trades in her piano for bleating and uninspired organ riffs that are mostly lost anyway in the blare of newcomer Dafydd Pierce’s unrestrained guitar improvisational jamming. The next track “Hapus Awr” makes a half-hearted and unconvincing attempt at leveraging Ms. Howells talents, but the net result sounds more like a Sniff & the Tears tune from around the same era (“Driver’s Seat – yeah…. Jenny was sweet…”). Bleah.

Once again the band tries to end an album on a positive note, but this time with “Miraeth” which might have actually succeeded were it not for the muddled attempt to overdub Ms. Howells with herself, a studio tack that ends up falling rather flat.

This is an obvious two-star effort, and a sad last-gasp for a band that started off with some very strong promise as a prog folk act. Sad to see it happen, but they wouldn’t be either the first or last to fall to the temptation of commercial success and the coming vapid sensibilities of the latter seventies and early eighties. Check out their debut for a much stronger offering; I’m sad to say that this one is for collectors only.


Review by kenethlevine
3 stars While Brān's sophomore effort is not as strong as their debut overall, having abandoned almost all folk inspiration in favour of hard acidic rock already past its time, it does contain a couple of their best tracks,

Clearly the winds were shifting, and even several jazzier and countrified tunes seemed half hearted. Not surprisingly, they remained most appealing when staying closer to their melodic origins, in the lovely ballad "Dyddiau Dwys", and the masterful closer, which possesses the same spine-tingling hallmarks of PERERIN's ultimate songs, particularly in the lead guitar outro and the alternating quiet and more assertive sections. The best of the rockers are "Dewch Ynghyd", which has a rudimentary RUNRIG style to it (and predates RUNRIG's recorded works), and especially "Hapus Awr", which works in fits and starts from anticipatory strummed electric guitar to catchy hard rock tune, with the voices fitted to the underlying rhythms rather than the reverse.

In spite of mounting evidence that Brān was decomposing into barely recognizable remnants at this point, their ability to wrench every emotional essence out of the best cuts manages to salvage a 2.5 star rating that I can only round up.

Latest members reviews

4 stars Wow ... this album could fool you if you only read the reviews and/or listened passively without some attentive listening. It's track A2 that caught my ear. I've played it back about five times and still can't get enough. It starts out like just another rock 'n' roll song from the era, but sudd ... (read more)

Report this review (#2440441) | Posted by Jeff Carney | Saturday, August 22, 2020 | Review Permanlink

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