Cerys Matthews - Never Said Goodbye

Cerys Matthews

Cerys proves she's as strong as ever on her second solo collection.
Rough Trade: 21 August 2006

Last updated: 02 January 2009

Never Said Goodbye cover


  • Streets Of New York
  • A Bird In Hand
  • Oxygen
  • Open Roads
  • The Endless Rain
  • Blue Light Alarm
  • Morning Sunshine
  • Seed Song
  • What Kind Of Man
  • Ruby
  • Elen

Three years on from her countrified debut Cockahoop, and a full five since Catatonia disintegrated, Cerys Matthews continues her personal and musical journey on Never Said Goodbye, her second solo release.

The album retains Cockahoop's wilful sense of city ennui and small-town longing, as illustrated in the opening Streets Of New York: "I'm somewhere I don't want to be, the city's moving over me, and I think I'm going to stay," she sings. "Please don't be alarmed - I'm not the star of something."

Whereas the carefree Cockahoop felt like a cathartic wipe of the musical slate, Never Said Goodbye is a more complex affair. Matthews' band is punchier than before, with the rolling drums and bass cutups on Ruby providing a musical highlight.

It also sees the return of the inimitable larynx gymnastics that made her name, not least on Oxygen, which Cerys has described as "completely out of my range and not really the way [music] teachers want you to sing. It's a huge release."

Thematically, she describes the album as being about "a boy gardener in the midst of all the global troubles tending to his own place. It's about keeping your personal energy up to deal with what is going on on a bigger level."

That theme is most evident on Seed Song and Morning Sunshine, the latter co-written with SFA's Gruff Rhys, who also appears on the closing Elen.

Never Said Goodbye looks set to give Cerys Matthews her highest profile since the days of International Velvet. That may be a delicious irony given its yearning for a simpler life, yet it's nothing less than she deserves.

Words: Joe Goodden

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