Monday, November 28, 2011

Our Own Dream EP - Keep Shelly In Athens

Our Own Dream EP

Keep Shelly In Athens
Forest Family Records.

SCQ Rating: 74%

Too few bands embrace the idea of anonymity these days. Interacting with fans has not only become as easy as clicking a mouse; some enthusiasts would swear it has become a requisite for bands to engage their followers on some sort of real-time platform. What’s marginalized amid the Twitter tweets and Facebook likes, however, isn’t the bands’ personality or opinions, it’s the music which should speak for itself. Keep Shelly In Athens is doing it right on several fronts; from their unenviable band-name to their bare-boned blog, the duo seeks only to share their creative pursuits.

And the best part of Our Own Dream EP being left to fend for itself: Keep Shelly In Athens says a thousand different things. After opener ‘Lazy Noon’ sends us on a throwback to lounge’s millennial hey-day, replete with crashing waves and female vocals in the far-off distance, we’re confronted by expansive walls of synth and processed beats which fuel the title track’s percolating drama. Tonally, these two tracks sum up a 180’ change in direction but, compared to what follows, ‘Lazy Noon’ and ‘Our Own Dream’ may as well be siblings. Such variety, including hip-hop beats and some intense guitar on ‘a) the rogue superhero (b) ready to pay the price’, may turn off electronic fans uninterested in dodging one curveball for another, but some of these surprises constitute the EP’s top moments. A remixed take on ‘California Birds’, which pits the duo against ABADABAD, proves captivating in the track’s tortured Robert Smith-esque delivery and moody low-end, while ‘DIY’ employs some punchy horns that mix well with its trance-like mass.

By maintaining such a loose grip on their sound and playing wildly outside of expectations, Keep Shelly In Athens can’t help but embody a less thrashing Crystal Castles. And just as that Toronto outfit’s first LP paved a thousand directions for the band to explore, Our Own Dream EP affords Keep Shelly In Athens a lot of wiggle room for future releases. Let’s hope this duo knows how to fill it out over the course of a full-length.

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