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More Songs to Cheer You Up and Chill You Out
Mysterious Grecian duo Keep Shelly in Athens have built a sizable reputation for themselves given their comparatively spare output over the past year. Their debut EP In Love With Dusk became a 2010 blog favorite, with its languid tempos, lush textures and sultry female vocals evoking early ’90s dance pop and late ’00s chillwave in equal measure. Now we have Our Own Dream, another six song stretch that finds Keep Shelly comfortably spreading themselves in to darker, dreamier territories.
Of the new songs, opener “Lazy Noon” comes the closest to matching the relatively sunny vibe of its predecessors. That sun was always peering through sonic overcast anyway, but this songs looping sample and piano line play like one final beam of light before the sun retreats over the horizon. The title track that follows brings on the night in a big way, its swaying rhythm and pained vocals echoing the peaks of Portishead before giving way to a gorgeous guitar squalor that collapses into a brief breakbeat worthy of The Chemical Brothers.
A reinvention of Abadaba song “California Birds” serves as a bridge to the EP’s two biggest pop epiphanies. “DIY” is an urgent torch ballad driven by insistent piano and the singer Sarah P.’s most soulful performance to date. “Fairytale,” on the other hand, in an infectious would-be club anthem that plays like one of Saint Etienne’s lost tracks from Tales of Turnpike House.
One of the advantages of the EP format is that Keep Shelly in Athens never seem to overstay their welcome. There’s enough here to suggest that they could sustain their sedate form of euphoria over a long player format, but there’s also more than enough meat on the bones here to render that debate unnecessary. They may not talk much yet, but they definitely have some good things to say when they do.