Another case of Welsh tunes capturing me and holding me hostage, tunes that lift this above the overpopulated mire of indie-pop.
I heard them on John Peel, of course, in 1999. I then tracked down this CD, which was the only release I could find of theirs, at the now-defunct Cheap or What webstore.
The Peel archive records that they did three sessions for the programme between 1997 and 2000:
A psychedelic pop trio from Penygroes in North Wales, Topper were one of a number of Welsh bands that arrived in the mid-90s in the wake of the success of the Manic Street Preachers, appearing on local labels like Ankst and Crai and recording exclusively in the Welsh language. Topper's 'Arch Noa EP' was released in 1997, and was swiftly followed by the mildly-acclaimed mini album 'Something To Tell Her' and another, single 'Cwpan Mewn Dwr'. An appearance with their peers Big Leaves, Derrero and Melys on the 1999 Fierce Panda compilation 'Dial M For Merthyr' gave them some exposure, but the band were last heard of the 'Dolur Gwddw' album in October 2000.
It should be noted that most of the songs on this CD are not in the Welsh language, but in English, albeit with a distinctive Welsh twang — so it sounds as though the man at the centre of Tuneless Man has "got no malady". I just asked Medwyn — my gracious Datblygu benefactor — if he knew Topper, since I believe he did a bit of photography for Ankst. He didn't answer directly in his response, but maybe he'll spill the beans if he reads this…
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