Keep Shelly In Athens - Now I'm Ready - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Keep Shelly In Athens - Now I'm Ready

by Joseph Majsterski Rating:7 Release Date:2015-10-19

Keep Shelly in Athens, masterminded by producer RΠЯ (no idea), occupies a unique place in the musical landscape, seemingly able to indulge in a few mostly unrelated genres with equal skill. Just when you think you've got him pegged, he switches things up on you. Such remains true on the third album, Now I'm Ready, which features new vocalist Myrtha.

The set leads off with the dreamy 'Fractals', which sounds straight off a Cocteau Twins album, loaded with echoey melodies, weightless vocals, and thrumming bass. But the band immediately changes the tone, moving into the upbeat 'Silent Rain', a track driven by tighter vocals, energetic keyboard work, and an insistent beat. There's even a theremin to spook things up towards the end. The band slams right back on the brakes for the title track, in which they team up with fellow Greeks Ocean Hope for what starts out as a langorous slow burner before building up the tempo and crashing everything together into a classic shoegaze wall of sound for the finish.

At this point things start to get weird with the soulful 'Line 4 (Orange)', a tune that sounds like Hooverphonic and Enigma had a moonlit tryst, with swirling electronics and chanting samples duking it out for supremacy. Things continue on their tangent with the spooky 'Benighted', which takes a decidedly hip hop turn with its grumbling beats, eerie electro-melody, and creepy, skrewed background vocals. 'Hollow Man' finds the band moving off in another direction completely, somewhere between chillwave, jungle, and lounge, with spacious beats and pads layered underneath Myrtha's haunting voice.

'Nobody' is much more straightforward, beginning with smooth, spacey ambience before Myrtha's voice gives the song a kick of sultry sass. The whole thing ends up with a jazzy lounge feel, with guitar wails and tinkling melodies filling out the space nicely. It's a weirdly delicate yet powerful musical statement.

Things finish off with the bizarre 'Hunter', which is really like two songs in one. The first half is another loungy, mellow affair, with a slow beat and awesome wah wah guitar girding Myrtha's once again lovely voice, and sweet strings eventually finding their way into the mix. But the second half of the track switches gears entirely, getting really serious and heavy, with pounding piano chords, a classic rap beat and scratching turntables creating a trip hop tune straight off a Massive Attack album. It even has the deep vocal musings near the end.

Now I'm Ready is pretty adventurous, with enough change-ups to keep you off balance and wondering what will come next. Some of the combinations are a bit weird, but there's enough good here to make the whole thing pretty worthwhile for those not strongly invested in the idea of strict genre divisions.

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