20: Singles & EPs '94-'96 collects some of six short-form releases Gorky's Zygotic Mynci recorded for the Welsh indie label Ankst and features some of their best-loved songs from that period, many of which ended up on albums like Bwyd Time and on the 1996 U.S. collection Introducing Gorky's Zygotic Mynci. The title track from the Merched yn Neud Gwallt eu Gilydd (Girls Doing Each Others' Hair) EP and "Bocs Angelica" remain staples in the
band's live set, and songs like "The Game of Eyes," "Miss Trudy," "Moon Beats Yellow," and "If Fingers Were Xylophones" are still perfect examples of the spontaneous, homespun psychedelia that defined Gorky's' work in the early and mid-'90s. Hearing these songs again also reveals that the plaintive, folky direction that the band ultimately pursued was there all along on "Pentref Wrth Y Mor," "Methu Aros Tan Haf," and "Gewn Ni Gorffen." Of the songs that haven't been easily available outside of their original EPs, about half of them are trippy, largely instrumental tracks such as "When You Laugh at Your Own Garden in a Blazer," the extremely straightforwardly named, abstract noise suite "Impressionistic Soundscapes," and "20," all of which could've sounded contrived and pretentious if Gorky's didn't have such a wide-eyed (or is that wide-eared?) sense of discovery in their music. The other half are songs that rival the material that has already appeared domestically, such as "Mewn," another loopy example of Gorky's' early sound, the strummy, noisy "Cwpwrdd Sadwrn," and especially "Lucy's Hamper," a lovely, reflective song from the 1996 Amber Gambler EP that displays Euros Childs' growth as a songwriter as much as anything the group put on a long-player at the time. Both the well-known and more obscure songs on 20: Singles & EPs '94-'96 still sound as fresh and delightful as they did nearly a decade ago, and the album works almost well as an introduction to some of their early work as it does as a collection-completer for dedicated fans.