Kyndryd, the band, is made up of multi-talented brothers Mostyn -- Ray, Terry and Don -- who play drums, bass, bodhran, recorder, acoustic, electric and rhythm guitars, keyboards and mandolin. All contribute to the vocals. Kyndryd, the debut album, presents a solid and original selection of songs and instrumentals that makes for exceptionally enjoyable listening and has already proven pleasantly addictive!
Their flavour is slightly reminiscent of Rush, with a goodly helping of Fairport Convention, a dash of Whitesnake, a few drops of Steeleye Span and a delicate touch of Mark Knopfler. Overall, the sound is an exceedingly palatable medium-weight rock with a broad band of what they themselves term as Celtic influence and a delightfully deft blend of folk. The CD runs just shy of 40 minutes, containing 11 tracks, of which four are songs.
They open with "Seasons Change," a gentle introduction with a haunting melody reminiscent of misty glens in autumnal twilight. "Maelstrom" follows, a strong rock-based instrumental, heavy on guitar and drums while retaining a clearly discernable tune. "Field of Dreams" features the comparatively reedy voice of Ray, yet his vocal style fits well with the track and it has the characteristics of a good, commercially viable rock song. "Madoc's Farewell" is the longest track on the album, a powerful tune with soaring guitar work and pulsating drums, as befitting the legend; its classic rock tones would make it the uncontested favourite for those who are drawn to Kyndryd for their rock style.
The Celtic influence is most blatant on "The Gathering," the bodhran keeping a soft, almost moist, earthy beat and the finger work on mandolin and guitar in combination with the recorder creating an airy, slightly fey atmosphere. This is the feeling conveyed by the moody and mysterious cover-art photography, and they complement each other well. Terry takes a turn on lead vocals on the traditional-sounding lyrics of "The Mirror," a morality tale of love turned to horror set to a good-going folk-rock beat. Ray returns as lead singer for "Celtic Son," another folk-orientated song both lyrically and musically, which should strike a resounding note with those whose roots have been torn from Irish soil. "Dusk," a slow piece featuring the guitar of Don Mostyn (though sadly, too brief), is pleasant and peaceful, echoing the tranquillity of the opening track. "Song for Kathleen" is a lively folk-rock instrumental with an infectious toe-tapping beat that loses you in the tune until its startlingly abrupt ending. Ray is in stronger, deeper voice in the final vocal track, "Daydreaming," a love song more influenced by rock than folk. They follow the established recipe for a successful song, yet still manage to present it with piquancy. The last track, "Mountain Boogie," returns to folk-rock with the rock dominating, and although it has its wild moments, I felt "Song for Kathleen" would have been a stronger finish, despite its unexpected ending. That said, when the album finally falls silent, the instinctive thing to do is to reach across and press the "play" button again, so beginning and ending blur anyway!
This really seems to be a family collaboration, as there are three other Mostyns credited with the photography, art design and web design. While the album is perfect and the cover art is lovely, the website could be improved. The site's MP3s are of disappointingly fuzzy quality, although they do their job in allowing a sample some of the tunes mentioned here. I would have liked to see more information about the band; an online contact and order facility for their CD (especially for prospective international fans); better photos of the band in action; maybe a gig diary-- in general, a more market-orientated approach and professional profile to maximise the opportunities for success that this fine band deserves.
I really loved the sound of Kyndryd and found, unlike many albums, I was never bored, because Kyndryd alter the sound, tempting the listener with a rich selection with an inherent appeal all its own. I am already impatient for their next CD and hope I don't have too long a wait before their next release!