Brooklyn trio mines expected influences to craft a surprisingly unique debut.
At this point in time, it would be far more surprising if a hyped young band from Brooklyn was not influenced in some way by Animal Collective. So, unsurprisingly, Keepaway -- a hyped young band from Brooklyn -- does exhibit some of the Collective’s DNA in their musical make-up. But, like any band worth giving a shit about, they’re not emulating; they’re integrating. And integrating a hell of a lot more than Animal Collective. In their press release, the band claims to be a “synthesis of big city booty beats, wall-wobbling psychedelia, and soul-bending hooks.” Can’t argue with that.
Back in January, Baby Style’s opening track, “Yellow Wings”, was making the rounds on the blogosphere, and I’ve had it on an endless loop ever since. It’s that rare breed of song that both endears itself immediately and reveals its more subtle pleasures over time -- a hypnotic gyration of live drums and loops winding through the Lonesome Crowded West. In terms of what Keepaway are striving for stylistically -- a cross-pollination of new wave, electro-pop, and tribal-psych -- there are definite parallels with Yeasayer’s Odd Blood. However, where Yeasayer mostly missed the mark, Keepaway has scored a crowd-awing bullseye.
While nothing else on Baby Style reaches the heights of “Yellow Wings”, it’s a dazzling batch of songs regardless. “Family of the Son” confirms what “Yellow Wings” hinted at: a serious soft spot for Modest Mouse, both in its bent guitar notes and lead singer Nick Nauman’s clipped cadence. As great as Baby Style is, the most exciting thing about it is the potential displayed for even greater things to come.