Release Date: Jan 22, 2016
Record label: Superball Music
The Trail Of Dead frontman goes it alone. He may have moved to Cambodia and made a debut solo album in his 40s, but Conrad Keely doesn’t sound like a man with a midlife crisis.. ADVERTISING inRead invented by Teads.
For the past 20 years, Conrad Keely has headed up iconoclastic alt-rockers …And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead. To those that know the band, it probably comes as no surprise that Keely’s debut solo album is 24 tracks long and spans a variety of styles. Though Keely moved to Cambodia in 2012, much of this record was written and recorded on the road, and there’s definitely an abiding sense of restless wanderlust here.
...And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead divided one of their albums into suites by guitar tuning and convinced a major label to greenlight this video. They are also named ...And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead. I can’t imagine Conrad Keely hears "no" a lot within the context of Trail of Dead, or even at all. So it stands to reason that Keely releasing his first solo album this far into his career wouldn’t serve the same purpose as most ventures of this sort, i.e., to provide a safe space to play with ideas too indulgent for the main gig.
After 22 years with ...And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead, Conrad Keely releases his debut solo album, if we can call it that. You could view these 24 tracks as value for money but Original Machines is an overwhelming and inconsistent listen; less a professionally-minded album, per se, than a sheer outpouring of the entire Keely vault. The opening number has a tinny, drum-machine-aided lo-fi sound.
By looking at a tracklist that features 24 items, most running for only a minute or two and with precious few over the three-minute mark, you can make judgements about Conrad Keely's first official solo album. It's either a complete refusal to edit indulgence, or it's a series of unfinished doodles, right? Keely has form for both in collaboration with …And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead (and I'm personally all for it), but for Original Machines these vignettes are something different. With ToD, they're usually placed in the context of a suite, or propelled along by that band's fearsomely effective rhythm section, so that any gaps in imagination are well and truly pummelled out of your awareness.
In spite of the usual lull of a new year, this January, in particular, was jam-packed with loads of exciting releases that cover a whole gamut of styles and attitudes. Sometimes we just don't have the time and resources to cover them all, but that doesn't mean we're always listening. Below are some ….