What do you do when the world shuts down? If you’re veterans of the indie pop scene, you form a band…accidentally! Huw Williams (The Pooh Sticks) and former collaborator Amelia Fletcher (Heavenly, Catenary Wires) are proud to present Swansea Sound. “At the start of lockdown, we were all quite bored and all had time on our hands,” says Swansea Sound guitarist Rob Pursey (Heavenly, Catenary Wires). “I had written a song that was too fast and punky for me and Amelia’s other band, The Catenary Wires, and I thought Huw might like it. He did, so he sang the vocal part on a cupboard in his house in Wales, sent the vocals back, and we mixed it. That song, “Angry Girl,” is on the album. With it, we realized we could record without meeting up—Huw’s cupboard sounds good—and “Corporate Indie Band” came next. We released the two as a limited edition cassette single. To our surprise, it got played on the radio quite a lot. We realized then that we’d accidentally started a new band,” laughs Pursey.
To that end, it is pleasing to present Swansea Sound’s debut album, Live At The Rum Puncheon which is released on November 19th.
Fans of the duo’s previous collaboration may well remember the band’s humorous, sardonic, lyrics that often offered commentary of the contemporaneous indie-pop scene. Thankfully, nothing’s changed; Live At The Rum Puncheon is packed with the same witty and biting lyrical content fans fell in love with many moons ago. Whether it’s the scarcity of DIY ethos being exploited by the collector’s market (“I Sold My Soul On eBay”), the commodification of the scene by big business (“Corporate Indie Band”), teenage rebellion (“Angry Girl”), or the saga of once-beloved heroes and contemporaries falling from grace (“Freedom of Speech”). Huw and company haven’t lost their touch. Heck, there’s even a song dedicated to one of the best vintage indie pop bands you might have missed, “The Pooh Sticks.”
The band recently played its first gig, and the results were promising. “ It was great fun,” says Pursey. “It was the first time we’ve heard our own songs played loud—it was kind of startling. I think the audience were a bit startled too. Here was Amelia and Huw, the pair they remember from the old days, singing a whole bunch of new songs as if the past had never happened. They clearly liked the new songs, though, so we were pleased. It was a good experiment and we all definitely be doing it again.” Here’s hoping the rest of the world gets to experience the pleasure soon; in the interim, Live At The Rum Puncheon offers you a dozen fine crash pop numbers to keep you on your toes.
Huw was also a member of staff at The Pop Factory in Porth when that venue was in its prime creating both TV and live events that will always be fondly remembered by those that witnessed that halcyon era of Rhondda related rhythm. I was fortunate enough to have spent time in the company of Huw and he was a gent and also an inspiring indie icon.
You can throw yourself around to Swansea Sound like it’s 1986, but if you catch the lyrics you’ll remember you’re in the here and now.