Damage is a strange combination of styles, melded into one surprisingly coherent seven-song EP. Western Keys can be said to play alt-country, crossed with indie/ emo sensibilities. This is my first experience with Western Keys, and I must admit, they’re rather impressive!
The songs wander from the latter-dat Sonic Youth/early ’90s Flaming Lips feel of “Please Rock” to the long lost and sad country sleeper of “Laughter.” The sadness pours out and eats away at the skin in “Laughter,” but the guitars are warm, the drums caressed, and the vocals too friendly and knowing to cause one to want to stop the pain.
“Driver Denies” sounds like The Bends-era Radiohead, crossed with a tinge of Indiana’s Chamberlain. This song also showcases the truly noteworthy vocals of Western Keys lead singer Ben Dickey.
The EP’s closer, “Free,” reminds me of the last song on Weezer’s classic Pinkerton. The mood is similar, the guitar picking and strumming identical, and the vocals vary slightly.
As I was writing this review, I remembered who it was that I think Ben Dickey really sounds like: J. Mascis of Dinosaur Jr. It’s almost uncanny! Well, anyway, to make a long story short, I really enjoyed this, and I look forward to hearing more from these guys, in the form of a full length.
Western Keys: http://www.westernkeys.com