Dork Radio
Now playing:
In the mag...
Featuring Bombay Bicycle Club, The Big Moon, Soccer Mommy and a whole load more!
Order a copy
February 2020
Review

Keep Shelly in Athens - Philokalia

More accosting and encompassing than any record Keep Shelly in Athens have released to date.
Keep Shelly in Athens - Philokalia
Published: 9:40 am, September 18, 2017
More accosting and encompassing than any record Keep Shelly in Athens have released to date.

Label: Athenian Aura Recordings
Released: 22nd September 2017
Rating: ★★★★

Conflicting features of sound and philosophy form the core of Keep Shelly in Athens' latest album, ‘Philokalia'. Despite the word ‘philokalia' meaning 'love of beauty', its narrative explores the doomed experience of a poisonous infatuation, delivered by haunting vocals, bass-driven synths and sinister lyrics. The tale of obsession in this album is far from being a thing of beauty, but the music itself certainly has its moments.

Striking dichotomies are revealed throughout, beginning with 'Leave in Silence''s sense of calm resignation. While the album's introduction comfortably demonstrates the duo's customary domain of lighter 'dream-pop', this is immediately pursued by the high-energy, highly-strung 'Marionette' - which channels Crystal Castles - and consequently shocks the album to life. The track confidently perpetuates the stance that Keep Shelly in Athens are capable of creating music which flits between the menacing and the serene. Subsequent tracks follow suit, like ‘Dark Light', which effectively combines heavy electronic bass with bursts of angelic chorus, illuminating the classical struggle between good and evil, a recurring theme throughout the LP.

Although not strictly a concept album, the title track ‘Philokalia' provides a key moment to reflect on the progressively fatalistic narrative. With extended instrumental segments buoyed by loops and synths reminiscent of 80s New Wave electro-pop, tensions rise rather than diffuse, and the album's intended philosophical significance is given a chance to simmer just below the surface.

New frontwoman Jessica Bell's resounding vocals are a vital component which contribute to the album's ominous quality. Her lyric repetitions often result in sounding wonderfully like a witch casting some kind of hex, particularly in the final track, ‘Believe'.

‘Philokalia' is distinguished by its relentless energy and vocal prevalence, making this album more accosting and encompassing than any other that Keep Shelly in Athens have released to date. Lily Beckett

Give all this a try

Drug Store Romeos: "Trip-hop is an underutilised style"
Live At Leeds

Drug Store Romeos: "Trip-hop is an underutilised style"

Dream pop trip-hop Drug Store Romeos have just inked a record deal with Fiction Records.
Band picks: Mystery Jets recommend who to see at Live At Leeds 2020
Live At Leeds

Band picks: Mystery Jets recommend who to see at Live At Leeds 2020

Jack Flanagan is here to help.
Do Nothing's funk and disco playlist, feat. Aretha Franklin, Kindness, Parliament and more
Live At Leeds

Do Nothing's funk and disco playlist, feat. Aretha Franklin, Kindness, Parliament and more

Guitarist Kasper Sandstrom pulls together some of his funk and disco faves, inspired by his dad.
DMA's look ahead to Live At Leeds: "To come back and headline is unreal"
Live At Leeds

DMA's look ahead to Live At Leeds: "To come back and headline is unreal"

The band also give us the low-down on their new album.
Like this? Subscribe to Dork and get every issue delivered direct to your door anywhere on the planet.
CONTACT PRIVACY ADVERTISE

© 2018 The Bunker Publishing