WHAT started as a side-project for Newcastle’s premiere exponent of passionate out- and wyrd-folk, Richard Dawson, to find an outlet for other musical stylings, has come to take on a wonk-pop life of its own. 

Originally a side-salad duo with harpist Rhodri Davies, the addition of Dawn Bothwell and Sally Pilkington has fleshed it out to a brilliant and fun synth-indie outfit – remember, according to the SAS, four is the ideal number for a special ops unit. 

2018’s Mogic found this sweet spot of leftfield pop textures and Richard’s brilliantly far-ranging and acute lyrical observations.

And now the foursome have announced a new album, Free Humans, which Weird World plan to deliver unto us on September 25th; in advance of which they’ve released a taster track, “Trouble” – clap your ears around it below.

Dawn brings the sweet indiepop vocals, namechecking Holby City, over some 80s’ inflected synth handclaps and choppy, high-fret guitar groove. Think a weirder cousin of The Orielles. Richard brings a guitar break that’s poised between ragged breakdown and pop harmonics, and everything is just as it should be.

Singer Dawn says of “Trouble”, that it concerns “the ‘soft power‘ brewing inside a bubble of love and creativity at home, contrasting with a stark and uncertain world outside.”

The album, Hen Ogledd promise, is “inspired as much by ABBA as the work of 12th-century mystic-composer-naturalist-visionary Hildegard von Bingen … tackling themes of love, friendship, Gaia theory, sewers, the nature of time, human stench, and the thrills of wild swimming”.

Hen Ogledd’s Free Humans will be available on CD, trad black vinyl and a 2xLP blue disc and yellow disc edition, as well as digitally. Get your shopping trolley and hive yourself off to Domino’s online store