Ireland has been producing some of the finest acts of the last couple of years, especially in the indie and shoegaze / psych scenes. Dublin based artist Keeley is continuing that fine tradition with her Brave Warrior EP. Originally released last year digitally it has now been pressed to vinyl and is about to be released to the world. She has garnered a lot of attention around this collection of songs from the likes of, BBC Radio 6 DJ, Steve Lamacq, so it’s definitely time for me to give it a spin.
The EP opens with the glam stomper ‘The Glitter and the Glue’. Trading off a killer riff and beefy guitar tone this sets Keeley’s stall out early doors. For the past five years, Keeley has been publishing ‘The Keeley Chronicles’ blog, dedicated to the harrowing and mystifying case of murdered German tourist Inga-Maria Hauser in 1988. The lyrics of the song reflect this, her labour of love, and contrast beautifully with the upbeat, tone of the music.
Continuing that narrative into ‘Last Words’ Keeley looks at the final hours of Hauser’s life. She trades the indie pomp of the opening track for the almost Kraftwerk inspired backing to this song. It’s a travelling song and she has imbued that movement into every moment of the song. It’s utterly engaging and you want to know where it’s going to go next.
‘Never Here, Always There’ pivots the sound of the EP again. Much softer and nurturing, this song wears its heart on its sleeve throughout. On the subject of what this song is about Keeley said “It’s a portrayal of purity belonging to a world that’s gone, and the story of a girl who chased the sun only to face soulless ogres who could not be overcome. But her beautiful defiance and soulful strength of spirit continue to generate limitless light from beyond the boundaries of mortality.” Optimism is such an infectious thing. It’s bursting out of every moment of this song.
The EP closes on the dark and brooding ‘You Never Made It That Far’. A pledge, a heartfelt promise from Keeley to Inga-Maria that she won’t ever be forgotten and her memory will live on. Live on in Keeley’s’ heart, these songs and all who are touched by them. It’s a sparse, electronica led song which blossoms in the choruses. Keeley’s’ Irish lilt comes through more here than any of the other tracks suggesting how close to her heart this song is.
This EP is a beautifully compiled tribute to the life of a beautiful soul. The ease at which each track moves from style to style speaks volumes to the skill of Keeley as a songwriter.
The Brave Warrior EP is available now on Bandcamp digitally or on a very limited edition 10” vinyl.