Indie. Passion. Art. Music.
Keenwah pronounced like the tasty little grain from South America that all the cool kids are eating these days. And by “cool” I mean people who drive Priuses and have those cute little Coexist bumper stickers pasted right above their tail pipe, yet don’t realize how detrimental the growing consumption of said grain is on the indigenous population (hint** it drives up the price like crazy, for the natives). Sorry ADHD is the worst, and I do get sidetracked. So, uh, social issues and supply/demand economics aside; today we are going to be checking out the crazy noise-art-funk-math rock band Keenwah’s self-titled debut. Quinoa is delicious, but is Keenwah equally tasty….wait that sounded weird let’s get to the review.
I guess I had an expectation prior to listening to Keenwah, especially given where I believe that the blog leans in a musical sense. And as the blog grows so too will the range of bands and genres that are featured on the blog. In accordance with the blog I can honestly say that the music for the most part is consistently eclectic and never manages to bore me. So, it would appear that on their self titled album Keenwah is going to continue on with this trend, and it could not have made me any happier. Sonically speaking, Keenwah reminded me a tiny bit of the group Oranges especially in the sense that the vocals are somewhat unpolished, but not in the sense that they are bad. I feel that the lackadaisical sound of the music at points almost invites this sort of vocalizing, which works for the most part.
A part of me wouldn’t be surprised if the album is largely improvised as the songs, at least based on the structure feel slightly impromptu; it wouldn’t be too far out-of-the-way for Keenwah to portray characteristics of a jam band. Either way, the tracks are infectiously jazz-like with some ambient and unmistakably math rock elements thrown in there for good measure. It’s a change of pace, but you definitely get the sense that the music on this album is never about pretense; there is a palpable sense of fun that seems to make itself known on each of the five tracks featured on the EP.
Whether we are talking about “Brazilian Blowout (Isaiah’s Safari Expedition Power Hour)” which sounds like something you’d hear walking around the bustling streets of Rio de Janero or”Javelin” which wouldn’t be out-of-place on any number of college radios around the country, you never get a sense that the album is trying to be more than something to escape the drudgery of day-to-day living. Keenwah is a nice collage of colors minus a sense of bloated exposition and subtext.
Keenwah is a solid album that rewards the listener with a sense contrast and although the tones throughout shifts a tiny bit you never get the sense that the songs aren’t related in some tiny way. That sense of unity works to make the album feel both consistent and varied, and not unstructured and jumbled. Keenwah is a worthwhile purchase especially if you want something that combines the elements classical elements of jazz with the modern improvised elements of math and alternative rock.
Overall Score: 3.5/5
Favorite Tracks: Brazilian Blowout (Isaiah’s Safari Expedition Power Hour), Javelin, We have it
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