19 May 2022

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Keeley Shade - EP Review: Give Me Time

27 May 2021 // A review by dmcgurk
While researching this review I was baffled to see that Keeley Shade’s Facebook page only had ~160 likes. I find it hard to understand why somebody with this much talent doesn’t command legions of fans, but I expect that her gorgeous new 5-track EP Give Me Time will win her a few more.

As difficult as it is to experience loss, it can produce great song writing. The music on Give Me Time was written in response to Shade’s parents’ divorce. There is a sense of sadness and growth in her performance, effortlessly delivered and punctuated by moments of elation. Her calm restraint is a broad canvas onto which vocal flourishes are painted to great effect. This style of singing, mixed with reverb-soaked vibrato, can lead to the vocals becoming so entrenched that the lyrics become muffled. This is not a criticism; the delivery is done with such conviction that the intention comes through anyway. It’s beautifully musical.

Alongside Shade on guitar and vocals, James Fistonich and Max Earnshaw are each credited with guitar and bass. The group obviously enjoy each other’s company - they feature with drummer Angus Grainger on Earnshaw’s last few singles and Grainger appears on Fistonich’s project George After James. George Manning’s keys round out Give Me Time, but the vocals and arrangements are the stars of this show.

I’d be surprised if at least one of the players hadn’t been influenced by the dreamy jangle of Radiohead’s Weird Fishes - the ethereal stream of guitar fills out the EP and gives it a floating feeling. Most songs evolve organically rather than following the rules of pop. That’s not to say that catchy hooks aren’t present, but each track feels more like a growing mood than a formulaic structure. I did find some of the sound effects a little jarring, particularly the submarine sonar noises at the apex of the title track, but it’s tough to fault the group for experimentation when the result is this good.

Keeley Shade has won a new fan in me. I hope that she follows the likes of Ainslie Wills and Feist and explores the experimental boundaries of indie folk song writing. The fact that she learned Logic Pro to co-mix Give Me Time shows that she has a strong vision. We’re lucky to be able to share it.

Rating: ( 5 / 5 )

About Keeley Shade

Keeley Shade is a Canadian-born New Zealand singer-songwriter based in Auckland.

Keeley grew up in Whangaparaoa, playing songs of Bon Iver and Daughter quietly in her bathroom. Now with more of a pop/rock flair, and backed by a band, she retains poetic songwriting and building dreamscape arrangements.

Just a couple years after finishing degrees in Fine Art and Music, Keeley has been working as a designer, television editor, and music video producer for NZ musicians. Now quite literally taking the stage herself, she’s coming in strong with a sonically exciting and heartfelt debut single On My Mind, that integrates her folk roots with a love for lush and abstract pop production.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Keeley Shade


Give Me Time
Year: 2021
Type: EP

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