Pembrokeshire-born, London-based Bryde aka Sarah Howells, is a woman and an electric guitar playing fierce and fragile songs. Swaying from vulnerable to uncompromising within one verse and chorus, Bryde’s music is honest and furiously authentic.
Fascinated with human psychology and inner workings of relationships Bryde’s songs still hold close a defiant and life-affirming quality. Described as being about “entangling and unravelling” they move from tender and delicate, to tough and unforgiving, drawing reviews that reflect this.
Bryde has been making music for over 20 years, ditching Uni in favour of bombing round the UK on a battered old sofa wedged in the back of a transit van, with her high-school rock band. Raised on the 90s grunge and 00s emo and on the verge of a record deal, the four close-knit friends saw their whole world shake when bassist and founder member Nia was diagnosed with leukaemia. After an 18 month battle with the disease, Nia tragically died, the band disbanded.
The loss of a dear friend and a move from home town of Milford Haven to Cardiff saw Howells’ music taste evolve from the Power Pop of youth to introspective emo-folk of Paper Aeroplanes, switching from electric to acoustic guitar. Paper Aeroplanes toured the UK and Germany extensively, selling out venues like Union Chapel and Prinzenbar, playing SXSW and self-releasing three albums after several close encounters with heavy weight A&Rs at major labels. During a band hiatus in 2016 Sarah’s need to continue creating saw her reunited with the electric guitar and the emergence of a solo-project, Bryde, described by the Sunday Times as “feral guitar..sensational”.
In 2018, Debut album Like an Island saw Bryde nominated for the Welsh Music Prize, touring Europe and gracing the stages of festivals such as Latitude, Boardmasters and Live at Leeds. It was a record about emancipation and learning to exist alone again. What followed was The Volume of Things, Written and recorded between London, and various friends’ studios in Berlin and produced by Thomas Mitchener (Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes, The Futureheads). Released during the first lock-down of the pandemic, it was an album about the bombardment of modern life, the avalanche of news, notifications, advice and ideas we have access to each day and trying to sift meaning from the white noise.
Spirituality, love, religion, healing and the power of the mind are threads that have woven their way through Bryde’s music for years but now in 2022 they seem more relevant than ever.