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2004-03-02My review: The Keys - The Keys (album)

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The Keys (album)

Scroll down for lyrics!
www.thekeysmusic.co.uk

Track listing:

1. Driving School
2. Love Your Sons and Daughters
3. Tense To Loose To Slack
4. Strength of Strings
5. Gurl Next Door
6. If Not For You
7. Simple
8. Question
9. Don't Go Weird On Me Babe
10. All The Drugs In The World
11. Animus
12. We Shall Be Released (hidden track)

Finally, an album! So, without further ceremony, here are my impressions... first up is Driving School, which elicits mixed reactions. It's technically precise. It has appropriate special effects mixed in. Frankly, I've heard it better live; it lacks the passionate edge which is the band's strength at gigs, and single Love Your Sons And Daughters isn't a great deal more distinctive. Pleasant, but it doesn't really display much character until the final stanza. For people who don't already know The Keys... well, neither of these tracks is a stand-out piece which will have them salivating expectantly.

From Tense To Loose To Slack quickly improves things. After meandering, the album really begins to kick in, rolling along with sleazy rawhide riffs and horns. Apparently this will be the next single, a reassuring choice. Strength Of Strings, an earlier single, is another great guitar-driven piece, flowing well but distinctively from the previous track and building a lively rhythm. It establishes good continuity.

Like those two, Gurl Next Door (the first single) really sounds as if the band were enjoying themselves when they were recording. Light, tinkling and enchantingly harmonised, it boasts some nice lyrical touches and likeable boyishness.

If Not For You stands alongside and in the mould of the best Mull Historical Society material. I really like it, though it may slow the overall pace of the album a little too much too soon.

Simple is easily my favourite non-single track. Featuring distorted percussion and as heavy a riff as The Keys are inclined to offer, this song takes a mouthful of a line ("it was my intellectual property but now it's yours") and pulls it off to fine effect. Question is another slower track, with slightly muffled vocals. Some very soothing guitars but wouldn't really lose anything without the lyrics. All-in-all a poor follow-up track to ‘Simple', which should have been Don't Go Weird On Me Babe. The sampled banter of the intro and semi-ironic country and western stylings on this one do it credit.

With All The Drugs In The World, we're back in Mull Historical territory. Honestly, a better thing to do would have been to put the energetic tracks first on the album, grouping more blissed-out material such as this here where it works best. Again, some beautifully soothing instrumental parts.

Animus is moody guitars and mumbling for almost eight minutes. Unless you're really in the humour, maybe not the case after listening to only just over half an hour of other material, you'll likely be rooting around for another CD. The 'hidden' sequence We Shall Be Released feels too much like it was added in order to pad out the running length.

As you may have gathered, I consider this Too Pure release a mixed bag. The re-sequenced running order I'm currently playing with before thinking about including b-sides is: DWGOMB, FTTLTS, SOS, GND, S, INFY, ATDITW, LYSAD, DS, Q & A. See if you like it.

An additional reservation about this release is that it doesn't include several songs the band play live... consequently, some may feel a little resentment at paying the price of a full-lengther for what's really quite a short album. Were closer acquaintances of mine to put out a release like this, I'd undoubtedly beat them around the head and shoulders with a French stick... and yet, when all is said and done, I very much like The Keys. They feel at times more like a side project than the band which has succeeded the Hump, but manage to be thoroughly endearing and infectious in pretty equal measure. It's frustrating, because they could be out-of-this-world with a little more attention to things like sequencing, and the best suggestion I can really give is to hear them for yourself and give them a chance. I don't think you'll regret it.


Driving School

Roads, well so I've been told
They lead to your door
We roam like ghosts

Signs, they stay in the mind
You left them behind
It's yours, your time

Take these wheels out for the summer
I'm just tired of being a stranger
See, no doubt, it's all in the blind spot
It's a simple rule of driving school

While… we're having good fortune
Put words to a good tune
They come soon I know

When… we're sick to our seams
Not all what it seems
The stars are near not far

Take these wheels out of town
I'm not into hanging around
See, no doubt, it's all in the blind spot
It's a simple rule of driving school
Love your Sons and Daughters

Lord, I receive, I receive, I have been reborn
An even harder rain is gonna fall
Lord, come reveal, come reveal for I have seen the law
An even harder rain that I recall
So many fears, so many fears
Love your sons and daughters

Lord, I can see you're the key, all must be reborn
An even harder rain is gonna fall
Lord, in a deal with the evil and the seed is sewn
An even harder rain that all recall

Lord, I must see, I must see, you must be the law
An even harder rain is bound to fall
Lord, you're the seal of the seasons and the deed is done
An even harder rain that all recall

All these things are happening
All comes down to the state I'm in
Less I worry about the little things
Written our dreams like heroin
From Tense To Loose To Slack

The straps of my sack tear into my back
And the sweat pours salt into the wounds
Sun high, mouth dry, pray I better spy water soon
It's been 6 whole days since I put you in a grave and I ain't turning back
From tense to loose to slack

I've got 6 towns on my back
This whole world's turning back
The law, the fate, the cruel fate, the law
Have to leave this place, find some saving grace
Before I turn to crack
From tense to loose to slack
Strength of Strings

Lately, lady, up on a hill I stood so still, thinking
Maybe you hate me, for doing my thing
Alright, okay, I could say everything is so safely
Alright, okay, I do it with grace

With the key to the city
It's a beautiful thing
The strength of strings

Sometimes, always, put it to bed, but it's half measure
Work shy, worn out, I do it again
Lunar shoulder, I could put anything to the altar
Alright, okay, I do it with grace

With the key to the city
It's a beautiful thing
The strength of strings
Gurl Next Door

What's my name … now?
What'll it be … now?
Picture the scene, American dream now, oh!

The woman is warm
I'm totally dear totally queer totally sincere now
What's my name now? Oh!

Ooh… I never felt this good before
I owe it all to myself
I don't need anybody else
And if it's true
I'm coming round to your door
I won't delay any more… for the gurl next door

The conversation may be flat
My audacity deserves a slap
I'm a spy at the house of love
I've got my finger on her doorbell
If Not For You

I would be unhappy
If not for you
I would have stayed in my shell
If not for you

Gone… my energy pours out of me
While… I intervene my enemy

I would have strayed from myself
If not for you

Dark… talking to me so quietly
Wisest part of me
Inside of me

Simple

This song is simple
This song is true
Made with sincerity
Of that I'm sure
This song is delicate
Spun with 3 chords
It was my intellectual property
But now it's yours

I couldn't sleep last night
Too busy dreaming
I made a journey to the centre of my mind
There was a room there
Made out of glass
I found a shoe box with these words in
Question

I've got a question
Too scared to pose
For if I say it
The feeling goes

What's in your time
What you have in mind
Have you sinned with Christ?

I don't know which one it is
Is it you are here or I am there?

You have the answer
It's in your eyes
And I can see it when you shine

It comes for free
Just like the breeze

We're called The Keys

I don't know which one it is
Is it you are here or I am there?
Don't Go Weird On Me, Babe

I know you, I can tell
You hide your sadness very well
After all they put you through
Don't be sad now don't be blue
We'll find the time to make you understand
Don't go weird on me, babe

This darkness has come before
Don't let it break you anymore
It's only come to show that
You and I know where it's at
The rest who think they've got it pat know nothing
Don't go weird on me, babe

I know you I can tell
Disappointed you may be
After all they done to you
Don't be sad now don't be blue
We'll find the time to make you understand
And don't go weird on me, babe
Don't turn weird on me, babe
All The Drugs In The World

Escape to a bigger cage
Don't need no dyed in the wool
Strapped down nothing can flourish
As wicked as it seems

Godspeed a choir of silence
We're in a state of repair
Hold out or no one shall profit
As wicked as it seems
I don't care at all

Now you, me we'll get through this all
These drugs have worked like a charm

And all the drugs in the world
Won't keep me away from finding the way
I will turn this round
Work it to my advantage


Animus

Here it stops all around you
It's crystal clear I want you here
What's your name do you use it
Change your style there is no money in it

Let it go non-believer
You had your chance and nearly blew it
Put it down to experience
It's a trade off that you can't ignore

What's your name and number
Think I'll give you a call
It's alright, it's only talking
What little you've got make it count for a lot
Don't hang up don't be alarmed now
I summoned up the courage now so can you!
Don't be a saint just do your best now
Don't take it wide take it all in your stride

In my dreams it always seems
Like I'm running but I'm getting nowhere
In my car the stars are near not far
I can drive it anywhere I please

Here we are side by side
I don't mind which way this solitaire goes
Just say no
Say it isn't so
I still smell you on my fingers and thumb

It's an old folk song
About your martyrdom
Let your mother down
See the city die
All lyrics are, naturally, copyright the band.

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