HMS Morris – Myfyrwyr Rhyngwladol (Bubblewrap Collective)

HMS Morris – Myfyrwyr Rhyngwladol (Bubblewrap Collective)

Following on from pre-coronavirus singles Babanod and Poetry Welsh art-rockers HMS Morris are back with latest electropop offering Myfyrwyr Rhyngwladol, released through Cardiff’s Bubblewrap Collective. 

HMS MorrisArtist: HMS Morris
Track: Myfyrwyr Rhyngwladol
Label: Bubblewrap Collective
Released: 16 September 2020
Find it: Spotify

With an ’80s stabs of synth, and a clipped beat the latest track from Welsh art-rock band HMS Morris, Myfyrwyr Rhyngwladol, struts in. At a distance voices build layers, at that boundary where speech becomes background noise, a swirl of words amid a pacy verse before it drop away, drops back to give space melodically and lyrically.

Formed in 2012 and originally the solo project of Heledd Watkins (Emmy the Great, Chloe Howl) the band has settled into a new configuration and following the release of debut album Inspirational Talks (2018) the current run of singles – Babanod, Poetry and now Myfyrwyr Rhyngwladol – show their breadth. Labelling them art-rock is somewhat misleadingly reductive while undoubtedly being a handy signpost toward what you might expect – although leaving plenty of scope for the delight and depths you find when you dive in.

Starting out as an intended rant against the gentrification or erasure of multi-cultural areas which comes with student accommodation projects Myfyrwyr Rhyngwladol – the title translates as International Students – settled into a form which looked away from criticism of the developers, and toward uplifting the value of international students in a community.

Of the track it is said it is, “an assertion that the world be a better place if we were all International Students. In the context of this summer’s global race-relations reckoning, there is a general moral imperative for us all to become students of the international: to watch the news as if it’s our own story, to actually take it in, to learn and adapt our behaviour.”

Through details it evokes the experience of walking those bustling, crammed-together, streets where shisha bars and barbers sit together, where colour spills from shopfronts, and language and music escape in tendrils which wrap enticingly around you. It is a call to become part of this, not to pass through as a tourist. The track stays away from tired melodic tropes symbolising ‘exotic’ and rather has a grittier undertone far more representative of the grind of everyday life but swirls, dips, and dives above that chug in a way which reflects the ordinary being extraordinary.

Taken alone it’s another excellent single from an innovative band, but viewed more broadly it’s another intriguing step on their longer path too.

Myfyrwyr Rhyngwladol is out on all digital platforms now.

Find HMS Morris: Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Spotify | Bandcamp

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Sarah Lay

Sarah Lay is editor of Popoptica.
A long-standing music journalist she's also co-founder of independent record label Reckless Yes, an author of novels, and when not messing around with words and music, a digital strategist.
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