Welsh psych-slackers KEYS’ new album, ‘Ring the Changes’, from the band that ‘shuns sonic trickery for blistering performances’ a most agreeable approach listening through a 12 strong-song release as they saunter through their influences from across the pond, think Stooges, Violent Femmes, Velvets, Sly Stone, it’s clear to see that this approach also holds more to merit.
As Jonathan Matth Keys, “We called the album Ring the Changes because it felt like a new band. We had a new drummer, new approach and the songs just flew out!” ’Ring the Changes’ does indeed have the urgency and immediacy of a debut album. However this album continues the lo-fi explorations of previous releases Fire Inside (2009) and Bitten by Wolves (2011). Recorded in one weekend on 8 track tape by kindred lo-fi spirit Pixy Jones from El Goodo, in 2014 that’s one thing that hasn’t changed. keys also feature on the soundtrack of indie film Svengali featuring the likes of Jonny Owen, Vicky McClure, Martin Freeman, Alan McGee and more. The film was released through Universal back in March and followed by a soundtrack album feat. Keys alongside The Coral, Jake Bugg, Dexys, The Small Faces, The Who and a good few more besides.
‘Wade In The water’
Opener ‘Shake It Up’ is a winner, which reignites interest from the off, the handclaps alone overlayed by the vocal intro already suggest a greater sense of urgency. Their is more bite, one track in and I’m sold, following ‘Hard Habit To Crack’ stretches the opening charm, as does the peachy ‘Bad Girl’; Before a trio of songs back that ‘stronger’ commentary, wonders ‘She’s My Baby’, single ‘Wade In The Water’ and the well realised ‘Machine Elves’ are all tastefully vivid, pleasing mid album winners. ‘Ring The Changes’ overall has a high standard for a longplayer, songs like ‘Slightly Ahead Of The Curve’ and the more subtle ‘Ghost’ are also equally noteworthy.
Keys are not breaking any moulds, but their fusion of influences simply works and how. ‘Ring The Changes’ will stir a heavier opinion, one way or another depending on your headspace, but what both camps would agree on, is that ‘Ring The Changes’ is some album. Keys approach and consistency is simply conceived, yet uncommon that if anything is elevated here in 2014. This sounds somewhat frivolous, but music’s the winner. 8.4/10
Watch ‘Bad Girls’