The Quietus - A new rock music and pop culture website

Baker's Dozen

Playing For Keeps: Cate Le Bon's Favourite Albums
John Freeman , September 4th, 2014 11:33

With her UK tour just started, singer-songwriter Cate Le Bon tells John Freeman about how an attitude of playfulness runs through her 13 top LPs


Gruff Rhys - Yr Atal Genhedlaeth
It's his first solo record. To me, in a way, it is a funny record. He is such a talented musician and it is quite a modest record in that it is stripped-down – he plays everything on it – and it is just drums, guitar and bass, and, of course, vocals. But, even though he stripped it down you cannot strip away the fact that he is just supremely talented and has got such an incredible use of melody and hooks.

I love the attitude. He had a rule that he could only do five takes and when I was getting to know him and was completely in awe of him, I remember asking him "but what if you didn't get a good enough take?" He just laughed and said, "Well, we just put loads of reverb on it" and I thought that was such an incredible attitude to have.

Also, it is a Welsh language record and although Welsh and English are equally my first languages, I have always struggled writing in Welsh. Gruff has just got this ability to write these lyrics that are so meaningful but whole-sounding and faithful. I am totally in awe of his Welsh lyricism. For me, Welsh is such a difficult language to write in and this is my favourite Welsh language record.

Since I was 13 I have been a huge fan of Super Furry Animals and of Gruff. He's just an incredible man and being around that wonderful playful attitude in his music is something I am so glad I was exposed to at that point in my life.