Dreamy indie pop served with a side of melancholic rock. Delicious!
That just about sums up the debut full length from Sydney based 4 piece ‘Key Out’. ‘Seeing The Sky and the Stars ‘ is full of melodic indie/rock jams that feel snatched out of the late 90’s but done with a modern spin. I could go on about how the members each have their own respective histories in other bands and how they contributed to the emerging aussie rock sounds we now enjoy but for the moment lets focus on this work.
I hear elements of Lo-Tel, Pollyanna, Sounds Like Sunset, Jebediah and even Augie Marsh in this music and it’s just wonderful to listen to.
Evident in the opening track ‘Monster’ is just how relaxed the vocals are. Front man Pat sings in a ‘slightly-more-then-talking’ kind of way which suits the material really well as do the jangly reverb laden guitars and live sounding drums. The backing vocals which are performed throughout the album almost always sit in a higher range to the melody (making singalongs a breeze!) but also displays how the band is using the different ranges to create layers of complimentary sounds. It’s lush and sweet.
2nd track on the album ‘Tread Gently’ has the instant appeal missing from some of the other slow-burner tracks on the album and it’s no stretch of the imagination to expect this getting some spins on the radio. The hook line ‘In the past they imagine every sound / Under the industrial symphony that’s broken down’ is a great example of the cleverly written melodies that don’t grab you immediately but rather linger about until you come back for another listen.
As a group they rarely break ranks to take over from what one another are doing and it is all delivered in such manner that it gives the listener a chance to really pay attention to the balance between the guitars, ambient sounds swooshing behind them and even the subtle touches applied to the drums. It’s a consistency that in other settings might be received as bland or samey (is that word?) but here it’s right on the money.
Track #6 ‘What Then’ has an awkward feeling to it with this random off-note in the main riff reminding me of something off Beautiful Sharks (SFK). The chorus lift however is something special as the mood shifts to a much more hopeful air. “and it’s so clear / might as well just disappear “ is easily one of the more memorable hooks to hit home on the record. I hit repeat on this one several times.
Another large album highlight was the final piece titled ‘Laika’. This song soothes and sways with its slow burning energy and reverb laden guitars supporting a single voice. The bass takes centre stage playing out the progression before the drums enter and the band returns to the foreground after being somewhat absent. As the song builds I noticed layers building gradually including some keys and guitar lines. The repeated lyric ‘now gravity’s gone’ loops over and over as the band plays out to close the album in a very nice post-rock fashion. It’s really quite amazing and would be one of the first things I would personal show anyone from this band.
Whilst only 8 tracks, this very much feels like an album and the closer really seals the deal for me. This is great and I expect will be a grower for many listeners. Overall ‘Key Out’ don’t have the immediacy or catchiness to cement themselves in the fast paced internet driven scene right away but they will likely develop a loyal fan base and profile with each performance and person who takes the time to indulge in the work they have put into ‘Seeing The Sky and the Stars’.
As a bonus..the album is available download via bandcamp as a pay what you wish/free release with hardcopies available for purchase.
Go give it a listen or three.
RIYL: Jebediah, Ceres, Sounds Like Sunset, Ball Park Music