WE REVIEW THE NEW EP FROM KEITH’S BROTHER – THE SWIMMER
‘The Swimmer’ is the new EP from Bolton band Keith’s Brother, released on Bandcamp on July 31st.
The EP opens with the title track, which features a speech over a basic drum beat and a synthy sound. With little variation and intrigue in the instrumentals, the focus is very much placed on the lyrics, in a way that makes it feel more like poetry than music.
Usage of a mobile phone voice assistant at the end of the song is a clever way to bring the song to an end and offers some variety to the sound.
Following ‘The Swimmer’ is ‘The 197’ which opens with talking accompanied by bird sounds. A more interesting backing is then introduced than ‘The Swimmer’, featuring a powerful bass guitar and a catchy electronic drum beat. Ethereal sounds are introduced towards the middle of the song, which give the song a more atmospheric feel.
The lyrics are pretty bleak, featuring themes of self-harm, funerals and prison. The song’s story is much easier to follow than ‘The Swimmer’ though, with clever lyrics and timing effectively painting the picture of a man at his lowest ebb.
The way that the vocals are spoken in a tired manner mirror the lyrical content. At five-and-a-half minutes long, this song is maybe a little long to maintain a listener’s interest, but I enjoyed it more than the title track.
‘Almost Dead’ features piano that offers a welcome variation and complication of a sound that includes the bass guitar and electronic drums heard in ‘The 197’. I really enjoyed the outro of this song, where the piano takes centre stage for a moment, followed by a clever muffling of the vocals, with a possibly optimistic final line of ‘So for now, I’m keeping you alive’.
‘Bloomsday’ is the final song on the EP, and it’s the song with the most rhythm, with a beat that could get the toe-tapping. Some of the musical themes of the EP start to get a bit tired on the 4th song, but the lyrics remain sharp and thoughtful. Ending the EP by paring back the sound to leave a glockenspiel on its own was effective in producing a memorable end to the piece of work.
With the huge success of other spoken-word artists like Yard Act and The Streets, it seems like Keith’s Brother could have potential to build a passionate following. The hard-hitting lyrics are definitely the main selling point of the band, telling stories of real life that are sure to resonate with much of their audience.
The way that the lyrics are spoken rhythmically in conjunction with the instrumentals helps to make the stories more engrossing and keep the listener’s interest, however I feel that introducing more musical hooks and catchy melodies into the instrumentals would help to elevate Keith’s Brother into a more popular artist.
If comparing them to Yard Act, the absence of the sing-along choruses that feature in many of Yard Act’s hits is a key difference, which Keith’s Brother could look to introduce while maintaining the poetic nature of the verses.
Overall, ‘The Swimmer’ is an exciting EP from Keith’s Brother that certainly displays their skill in telling real-life stories through music, and I’m looking forward to seeing how they develop their sound in the future.