Never Here Always There – Keeley (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

Some artists tell stories via a song. Others create longer narratives via, for want of a better word, concept albums…or at least albums of concepts. Keeley, via the band of the same name, has an even more focused and singular approach to story-telling.

Five years ago she read about German tourist Inga Maria Hauser, whose murder in Northern Ireland in 1988 remains unsolved and since becoming drawn to this tragic story has written about nothing else since via both blog and songs. Or as she puts in, “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.” 

The latest release is Brave Warrior, a four-track tribute and continuation of Keeley’s sonic investigation of the case and following on from The Glitter and The Glue and Last Words, both also taken from this album, comes Never Here Always There. 

Blending lush, and indeed Lush-esque, dream-pop with hazy, indie electronica, the track is both light and accessible and deep and meaningful. And that duality really gets to the heart of the Keeley experience. Music with a message doesn’t have to be maudlin and melancholic and neither does pop music have to be saccharine and throwaway. The highbrow can be fun and the fun can speak volumes.

Imagine just how great the mainstream would be if everyone made music with such an attitude?

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