Brave Warrior

I’m listening to the EP Brave Warrior from a band named Keeley. The first track, The Glitter and the Glue, comes charging at me at full gallop. It hearkens back to the vocals and volume of The Runaways with a bit of tweaking at the soundboard to bring it into the 21st century. Good stuff; I loved The Glitter and the Glue. The whole song works as a pop/punk anthem with blasting guitars and a good fast pace. 

The whole EP isn’t on the same page as The Glitter and the Glue. The next song is Last Words; it changes gears into a more new wave/post-punk song. It may not have the same energy as The Glitter and the Glue, but it stands on its own merit. The third track of this four-track EP is Never Here Always There, and it presents us, the listeners, with a whole new tableau, a more sombre sound but not melancholy. The EP closes with You Never Made It That Far, pulsing and building to close a chapter in the story. Overall I enjoyed the dozen times that I played this EP, as good a concept EP as any other I have heard. I look forward to a long player with more of the story.

Hailing from Dublin and fronted by vocalist and guitarist Keeley, the band includes Marty Canavan on keyboards, Martin Fagan on bass and Pete Duff on drums.

London label Dimple Discs has announced the signing of Irish psychedelic dream pop outfit Keeley to its roster, not long after releasing the critically acclaimed new album from Cathal Coughlan (The Fatima Mansions, Microdisney). The label will release her debut ‘Brave Warrior’ EP digitally on June 18, with a physical release planned for autumn with a long-player scheduled for 2022.

Keeley pursues an unusual conceptual thread, conceived several years ago, focusing on German tourist Inga Maria Hauser, whose murder in Northern Ireland in 1988 remains unsolved.

For the past five years, the band’s frontwoman and songwriter Keeley has been publishing a blog with a devoted global following – ‘The Keeley Chronicles.’   She is documenting the many facets of this unique, harrowing and mysterious case, correcting the falsely published details of Inga’s life and piecing together what happened in the final days of her trip. By working in close quarters with Northern Irish police, senior politicians and Inga’s legal representatives in Northern Ireland in concerted efforts to advance and resolve this notorious case, she is keeping the memory of this beautiful and mysterious soul alive.

“Inga is the subject of everything I write. From the moment I first read about her exactly five years ago now, her cause became a burning obsession for me. Since that day, I haven’t written a song about anyone or anything else… I consider myself a concept artist, and my purpose is to give Inga a voice,” says Keeley.

Dimple Discs is a new Peckham label with deep Irish music connections, founded in 2018 by Damian O’Neill of The Undertones and Brian O’Neill, initially as a vehicle for Damian’s solo projects. It has grown to encompass such artists as The Undertones, Cathal Coughlan, Kev Hopper, Eileen Gogan and Nick Haeffner with forthcoming archive material from Microdisney and Fatima Mansions. 

“We are thrilled to have Keeley joining us as she is an exciting new talent – we were hooked from the opening bars of ‘The Glitter And The Glue.’ Welcome to the family, Keeley!” says Brian O’Neill.

Already recording new works at Darklands Audio in Dublin, where Fontaines D.C. recorded their first album, Keeley looks forward to releasing this ‘Brave Warrior’ EP on June 18. It can be pre-ordered via Bandcamp with ‘Glitter and The Glue’ being offered for immediate download with any order.

FOR SHARING

Bandcamp https://keeleysound.bandcamp.com/track/the-glitter-and-the-glue

 ‘The Glitter and the Glue’ https://youtu.be/NQf4Cvejq-8 

‘Last Words’ https://youtu.be/zQ-deYzBmBc 

Pre-order https://keeleysound.bandcamp.com/album/brave-warrior-ep

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Song of Co-Aklan

It would be absurd of me to try and describe Song of Co-Aklan, the just-released album by Cathal Coughlan. But I will let a bit of my sanity slip further away from me and put some words together that will hopefully elucidate the hoi-polloi and entertain those who read it through.

Falling Out North Street, the second from the last song on the album, is an excellent place to start. This standout song comes with the bonus of a short film directed by acclaimed Yorkshire-based musician and artist Marry Waterson. In the absence of live events due to the pandemic, short films and music videos have taken on a new life of their own. They don’t stream on MTV like the music videos of 1981. In 2021 we have fantastic short films such as  Falling Out North Street and slick music videos, many of them streaming on YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JLeGoL-w7F8

Falling Out North Street in the words of Cathal Coughlan. “The song tries to describe the absurdity of trying to keep hold of sanity, dignity or confidence in the face of the remorseless advance of time. From the start of the song, a circular pattern from the bass guitar and a plucked cello advances implacably, as the vocal and some transient instrumental elements try to pick a way through the debris of lives and communities. A broad chorus breaks the deadlock every so often, where exhortations are attempted by a wall of voices. Eventually, the singer has to suggest that he and the person he’s addressing might have been better off and happier all along had they been pavement purveyors of shouted gibberish and box-room detritus. And so the song ends,” says Cathal Coughlan.

Listening to this album, Song of Co-Aklan, was a challenge for me. On the first go-round, the music struck me first. Cathal Coughlan has surrounded himself with talent, and they are a cracker band. On the second spin around the album, I listened to the vocals. I have no idea what Cathal Coughlan is trying to say through many of the songs, but he is a fine storyteller in the tradition of Leonard Cohen or towards the lyrics of Frank Zappa.

For example, in the opening track, Song of Co-Aklan, we have this bit, ‘Raise your hands if you don’t know what this means.’ I have my hands up. I don’t know what this means. Several names dropped, such as Bob Nairac, but I have my hands up. I do not know what his character brings to the song as a whole.

My Child Is Alive is a good bit of writing. Here is a sample;

‘He never knew the mother, they just fell together once

Did what he could to dodge her until after nine full months

The baby didn’t make it, quite a scandal in the town 

Daddy joined the civil clergy, gained salvation profound

Now the police for the cover they need

make his lovers believe my child’s alive!’

I will continue listening and unravelling this album bit by bit. I am sure it will grow into something even more beautiful with time and effort. In the meantime, I would encourage you, the reader, to check out the links below. This album can be listened to in many ways and means. Happy listening and play safe.

The ‘Song of Co-Aklan’ LP is  now available across online platforms, such as Apple Music and Spotify, as well as physically. It can be ordered at https://ffm.to/songofcoaklanalbum.

Falling Out North Street’ https://youtu.be/JLeGoL-w7F8
‘The Knockout Artist’ https://youtu.be/lPr9f0l96pA
‘Song Of Co-Aklan’ https://youtu.be/e6YL06Za4rc
‘Owl In The Parlour’ https://youtu.be/7KKri0pTmkI
Cathal introduces his album https://youtu.be/f3MsD3NR-6M Bandcamp https://cathalc.bandcamp.com
Spotify https://spoti.fi/3fcB7iY
Digital Order https://orcd.co/songofcoaklan
CD / Vinyl order (USA/Canada) https://ffm.to/soca_us
CD / Vinyl order (UK/Ireland) https://ffm.to/songofcoaklanalbum

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