June 2014. Last we’d heard from Virginia’s Keep, Hypnosis for Sleep had just been released. A tasty blend of atmospherics and power chords, Keep was clearly inspired by bands like Nothing and Cloakroom, but with a clear vision of what their sound should be. And the nagging hook from “Old Man” never lets go (graduated to our permanent rotation in one day). Describing this as a punk/shoegaze hybrid really sells Keep short, as it ignores the mastery of what they do with the space between. There’s power in the chords, but there’s beauty in the spaces.
Now Keep returns for their first release after signing with Ohio’s Mayfly Records, and it seems like they’ve found a natural home there. Psychorama opens with the reverb-drenched vistas of “Latch”, and invites you on a journey into the heart of the sound. Elements of shoegaze, ambient, even classic doom metal are all perfectly balanced, so that no one voice dominates the others. The always-haunting vocals bring the humanity to the project, fueled by longing and loss.
You can sense a progression, and an attention to detail, that makes Keep a band to be reckoned with. They’re exploring the contours of their own sound, and finding new depths of feeling. Rumor has it that the three tracks that make up Psychorama took nine months to complete. But the finished product proves the effort was worth the work, and the wait.