Bill Ryder-Jones – Iechyd Da

The ex-Coral guitarist Bill Ryder-Jones returns with a fifth album rooted in loss, heartache and love

Album Review by Alan O'Hare | 08 Jan 2024
  • Bill Ryder-Jones - Iechyd Da
Album title: lechyd Da
Artist: Bill Ryder-Jones
Label: Domino
Release date: 12 Jan

Having produced records recently for Michael Head, By the Sea and Brooke Bentham, Bill Ryder-Jones is back in the hot seat for a set of his own songs for the first time in a while. It's a prescient move, as fifth album Iechyd Da is his best yet – full of graceful guitar, pinpoint piano and hushed tones. “It’s my most produced record,” he admits. "I haven't been this proud of an album since [2013's] A Bad Wind Blows in My Heart.” 

There's strings, samples, kids singing and even fellow troubadour Mick Head reading James Joyce's Ulysses over the Ennio Morricone-underwater swells of mid-album instrumental ... And The Sea... The glorious If Tomorrow Starts Without Me is the kind of guitar pop Ryder-Jones' Welsh brethren Euros Childs and Sweet Baboo specialise in, while widescreen epic This Can't Go On is Mercury Rev by the Mersey and I Hold Something In My Hand connects the dots between his Coral and choral days. 

There is a timeless and timely feel to these tunes and it sounds as if something stately is stirring in West Kirby. Good health, indeed.

Listen to: If Tomorrow Starts Without Me, This Can’t Go On, Nos Da