The Innocuous Beats EP from UK band Keys is certainly not going to be for everyone, the distinctive and unrefined treats within destined to leave many confused and scared to take on the teasing unpredictable challenge on offer, but for those it does make a connection with there is the strong possibility of it being a long-term union. The three track release is a psyche sculpted mesh of indie, punk, noise, and colour soaked melodic enterprise bled into pastoral shades without losing vitality. It is not easy to truly describe in word but if any of the references it offers through the rest of the review up strike your ardour than Keys is an awaiting joy.
Formed in 2009, the Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk quartet of William Burns (vocals/synth), Jon Titcombe (guitar), Ed Pipe (bass), and Ben Ward (drums), according to the promo sheet accompanying the release started Keys ‘from a mutual sense of not fitting in.’ A term which describes the sounds on Innocuous Beats perfectly, their ability to not fall in with any established or dare one say accepted style but stride forward with their own unique DIY intent and flavouring refreshing. The band has built up a good and devoted fanbase through their live performances which have flourished from a policy of showing up at as many gigs as possible in within a 60-mile radius and persuading promoters to put them on and their release can only bring further recruits to their aural cause.
The Sturm Und Drang released EP opens up its presence with the title track, a song which immediately encroaches on the senses with a grouchy yet beckoning bass call. As beats muster their wares jangling guitars add a bright funk high stepping breath to proceedings, their vibrant and keen presence bringing an early Orange Juice flavour to the heavier tones of the enthralling bass persuasion. The vocals of Burns are expressive without blowing the cobwebs from the passions but fit perfectly in the teasing overall sound which suggests a major explosion but never does take the full leap though its riotous climax with a funk infused boisterousness which brings thoughts of eighties band Mouth, certainly energises and triggers a livelier escapade.
It is an infectious and compelling start easily matched by the following Hiding In Our Smirks, another song opening with the throaty call of the bass making the strongest beckoning. As vocals and guitars strut their hypnotic stuff with again understated intensity but enthused energy the track is a scuzzy trigger to an even stronger hunger for sound and release. The track seemingly has seeds found in the likes of World Domination Enterprises as well as a tinge of early Gang Of Four to its gait and like its predecessor simply fires up the senses and emotions with its post punk and punk invention.
Communications Tower is the last contribution to Innocuous Beats and lives up to what came before with ease. It is a prowling blend of again the likes of Mouth and World Domination Enterprises with loud whispers of Swell Maps and The Fall which stomps and swaggers with uninhibited confidence and in the face disobedience. The melodic swell of the synths are also eighties borne with a Martha and The Muffins touch to their warm caress and with its brief but potent offering the song completes an impressive and deeply persuasive encounter.
Recorded by Cambridge DIY supremo Richard Rose (of R*E*P*E*A*T Records fame), the Innocuous Beats EP marks the arrival of an exciting and hopefully boundary stretching if not breaking band of the future. Right now they simply offer an extremely pleasing and inciting encounter which if their quirkily inventive and unapologetically stand-alone sound ignites a connection will leave a big grin on the passions.
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