Bato Mato - Adwaith

Bato Mato by Adwaith | Album

Scott Taylor reviews Bato Mato, the second album from the critically acclaimed and award-winning Welsh-language band, Adwaith.

Bato Mato, the second album by Welsh-language band Adwaith, is an awe-inspiring record full of vivid freshness, which – with all the hot weather we are having right now – might be the perfect summer album. In fact, it might just be one of the best releases of 2022 so far. From West Wales, the Adwaith trio continue to merge the elements of mainstream indie rock and pop, adding in their own spin, producing a unique and now highly recognisable sound. Clocking in at just over 42 minutes, it’s a testament that this album doesn’t sound at all drawn out. Rich and textured, Bato Mato demands multiple listens. Much more than the sound of the summer, this album is the sound of a generation of young new Welsh artists ready to make their mark – and Bato Mato is one hell of a mark.

Adwaith gave themselves a tough act to follow. Their debut, Melyn, was a critical darling with the kind of oomph that’s (proverbially) difficult to follow in a second album (and that’s not to mention that their debut took top spot winning the Welsh Music Prize in 2019). But, not to be swayed, their new record flies in the face of that challenge, the trio have gone louder, bigger, and somehow produced a piece of art that is even more impressive. Where Melyn leaned into stripped back psychedelia, Bato Mato reaches for a polished, well-constructed and coherent sound that is best enjoyed on a full album listen. The tone of this album, in particular, is standout. It fluctuates from upbeat and fun indie-rock to slow and downtrodden gothic-inspired post-punk. It is a beautiful amalgamation of influences and bold new ideas, building on the foundation and lessons of their debut. The vocals are as clean as they are powerful, with characteristically weighty performances by three artists showcasing a dynamic skillset, and great artistic vision.

Opening track ‘Cuddio’ is a killer start to the album – borderline hypnotic in effect, as if preparing the listener for the wild ride to come (with Adwaith at the helm). Its tone is shifting; driving and powerful here, swelling into gentle reservation there, its balance is a thing of ornate beauty. It’s also a tell-tale introduction to all that is to follow – from the beautiful vocals and wild drums of ‘Sudd’ to the haunting and slower paced ‘Yn y Sŵn’ and ‘Cwympo’ – the album moves between aggressive rock and quiet but poised moments of intense drama. Adwaith maintaining and managing the balances of their multiple sonic influences to keep their sound vibrant without ever tipping into anything so unoriginal as pastiche or retro.

Of its stellar tracklist, the top song comes in the form of hurricane-like ‘Nid Aur’– the loudest and most fast-paced track of the entire record (by no means an easy feat). An electronic indie-rock masterpiece, the song doesn’t stand out so much as dominate the record with its crunchy, coruscating guitars set against a backbone of high-tempo drums. Its relentless barrage of sound embodies the conviction and inventive execution of this formidable band – something unlike any music anyone else is making right now and a jewel in the crown of Welsh-language music. 

Could there be better proof that the age of male-dominated rock is dead? Mato Bato should be required listening for the summer of 2022 (and doubtless many more summers to come). Adwaith have done it again, and their already considerable acclaim will – hopefully and rightfully – continue to grow. This is a record which deserves an audience, and a wide one at that. Adwaith might just be one of the most interesting bands of this new generation, and their talent sings as loudly as the choruses of their latest record.


Bato Mato by Adwaith is streaming now on Spotify.