Review Summary: The Brooklyn trio's debut EP fails to live up to the hype generated by its lead single but suggests that these guys are more than just another Animal Collective wannabe.
It's easy to call Keepaway an Animal Collective ripoff, but it's also a wee bit unfair. The reverbed vocals, guitar delays, and clipped samples of "Yellow Wings" certainly recall Merriweather Post Pavillion
, but that doesn't take away from the fact that it's a damn good pop song. The simple, repetitive lyrics make it easy to sing along to, and if it isn't the most infectiously joyful song this side of Jonsi's new album, I don't know what is.
It's too bad, then, that the rest of Keepaway's debut EP doesn't live up to this rollicking opener. "Family of the Son" pairs a repetitive synth line with some mildly interesting drumming that fails to build up fast enough; by the time the vocals have entered the picture your attention has already drifted, and the melody isn't nearly memorable enough to resuscitate the track.
"I Think About You All The Time" suggests a return to the unadulterated happiness of "Yellow Wings", but the self-consciously sunny vocal delivery mars a potentially great track. Here, the Animal Collective similarities seem particularly egregious; the interlocking melodies and vaguely shrieky vocals veer dangerously close to a parody of Noah Lennox's unique stylings.
The final two tracks on Baby Style
suffer from the sort of meandering nothingness that plagues so much psychedelic rock - "5 Rings" has one memorable melody, but it doesn't enter until the final thirty seconds. The rest of the six-minute track would qualify as passable filler on a full-length LP but seems like a waste here. The closer, "Evil Lady", has too many different melodic germs floating around, none of which ever coalesce into anything worth replaying, and yet it still seems maddeningly repetitive.
And yet, despite all these criticisms, Keepaway still seems like a band to watch. There's an immediate accessibility to their sound, even if there isn't enough immediacy in their songs. It takes solid musical sensibility to craft a track like "Yellow Wings", and even if the rest of Baby Style
falls comparatively flat, there is enough evidence here that suggests that the song isn't a fluke, that there is more to Keepaway than they let on here, and that makes them all the more exciting.