19 Feb 2020
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Keepingfaka - Album Review: Digilies

18 Apr 2019 // A review by Jamie Denton

Information about the background of Keepingfaka is sparse. The official Facebook, YouTube and Spotify pages offer no biographical information, or even the slightest hint of an about section. In fact, there is not even a clear indication of whether Keepingfaka is a collective / group or solo effort. Perhaps this is intentional, as Keepingfaka may desire to let the music to do the talking for them, and the debut full-length album, Digilies, most definitely speaks volumes! As a first full-length album release, Digilies is ambitious in its scope, and displays strong songwriting, fantastic engineering, and near-flawless production.

Digilies is an interesting combination of elements that elsewhere may seem contradictory. There is a wonderful darkness to this album, yet it retains a sense of playfulness. Crushing dense in places, and then sparse in others, providing much needed space for the individual grooves and melodies to breathe. The overall sound is crisp, clear, and slick, yet not overproduced. But perhaps more than all others, Digilies feels incredibly fresh, innovative, and modern, yet still calls to mind comparisons to some early-KMFDM, Wax-Trax-era Sister Machine Gun and other such seminal industrial pioneers.

The foundations of each track is a massive electronic wall-of-sound; soaring synths, piercing leads, massive pulses of distorted and bitcrushed bass, infectious melodies, and intriguing, driving beats. Sonically interesting and unique, yet strangely familiar enough to keep you wanting more. Vocals are handled magnificently by a number of guest vocalists, which provides a clear distinction and provides diversity between the tracks on this album. Rapid-fire vocal deliveries mirror the frenetic energy of the music, providing maximum impact.

Repeated listens treat the listener with slowly emerging realisations of previous hidden sounds and instruments, the sign of a good album. Fast, loud, and melodic, yet aggressive, with slower parts that allow the music to breathe peppered nicely throughout, Digilies is a hell of a good time.

My favourites of the thirteen, are definitely the songs entitled R.K. and Were U R. The massive R.K. features Raheem Kemet, a South African hip-hop artist. This track features vocals reminiscent of the love-child of Fort Minor and Zach de la Rocha’s (ex-Rage Against The Machine) short-lived but sonically interesting One Day As A Lion era, the wall-of-electronic-sound and incendiary beat all lead to a wonderful expression of pure energy, and a song that I am sure would rip the roof off any venue live.

Were U R, a remix of New Zealand-based electropop artist Fanfickk's song Where You Are, puts a beautiful vocal delivery over a bass riff that wouldn’t be amiss on a classic dark wave record. Crashing in with a giant riff that lesser acts would have leaned on for a little too long, Keepingfaka keeps it restrained by only allowing the unleashed pseudo-numetal guitar minimal time. A very impressive move that shows a real confidence in the songwriting. However, it is the airy, unaccompanied vocal of the second verse that provides the most breathtaking moment of this track.

Overall, this is an album that is big, loud, hooky, and compels you to move. Well worth a listen but be aware that it gets even better with repeated exposures!

Rating: ( 5 / 5 )
 

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