Top-notch production and the inclusion of saxophones add so much to this wonderfully spacey record, with some resemblance to Joshua Tree-era U2, but much more shoegazey. You can also hear some beautiful male/female harmonic vocals interspersed throughout,m. Hard to pick just one favorite song, especially when everything flows together so well! Also, the instrumental tracks (Herons, Ducks) are particularly evocative. Overall an incredibly enjoyable listen on frequent rotation.
Favorite track: Pasted.
"One of the best records of 2021. Timelessness channelled through the cult pop canon" /// Week in Pop
"Uncanny . . . Deeply immersive dream-pop" /// The FADER
"Expansive, dreamy visions" /// Gambit New Orleans
"Majestic . . . Something magical in this band" /// PopMatters
The debut record from Keen Dreams takes both its title and “structure of feeling” from Daisy Hildyard’s 2017 book-length essay The Second Body. In it, the historian of science posits a diffuse 'Second Body' for each of us. While we wait, scroll, drive, and sleep our Second Bodies crawl the globe, render e-waste, dwell in shipping containers, warm themselves on refinery flare stacks in the atramental night of coastal Louisiana.
Like Hildyard’s The Second Body the Keen Dreams debut meditates on uncertain but real affective connections. Pronouns in the songs are necessarily plural, as in “Pasted” where friends split ambiguous profits then wonder what's next, grasp past each other in the cinematic “Big Gulps,” and indwell public place in "Pinks & Reds." When they share a password beneath the sleepless gaze of "Pressing Eyes," the you becomes a desperate us.
To build the cinematic album Keen Dreams sought out producer Shannon Fields, attracted by both the richly textured pop of his band Leverage Models and Fields's experience in the more liminal spaces of collective improvisation. Recording sessions at The Isokon studio in Woodstock, NY yielded a grip of lush rock tunes which Fields and the band framed with detourned pianos and soundtrack synths, harmonica ghosts, saxophones, slurred trumpets and shrieks of bass clarinet. The resulting album drifts along an x/y of cathedral composure and howl; sentiment and squall; a first body grounded in the songs and a Second Body pushing through darker canyons.
released May 14, 2021
Produced by Shannon Fields.
Recorded by D. James Goodwin at The Isokon, Woodstock, NY.
Additional recording by Andrew Barker in Brooklyn, NY;
Shannon Fields at The Run-In, Jordanville, NY;
Mario Viele at Cowboy Technical Services, Brooklyn, NY.
Mixed by Matt Estep at Tarbox Road Studios, Fredonia, NY.
Mastered by Mario Viele.
All Songs performed by James Weber Jr. (guitars and voice)
Shana Applewhite (bass, baritone guitars, and voice)
Eric Martinez (drums)
Shannon Fields (additional instruments)
Karl Francke (harmonica 1, 2, 3, 4)
D. James Goodwin (pedal steel guitar 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and percussion 1, 2, 5)
Michael Hanf (vibraphone 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8)
Matt Lavelle (bass clarinet 6, 9 and trumpet 1, 2, 5, 8)
Jon Natchez (tenor and baritone saxophone 9)
Jonah Parzen-Johnson (baritone saxophone 2, 3, 5)
Alena Spanger (voice 3, 6, 7, 9)
Mario Viele (voice 6)
Origami photographs and eroded flower by Keen Dreams.
Bessa, Pancrace (Paris 1772–1846 Écouen). “Study of a Poppy.”
Hildyard, Daisy. The Second Body. London: Fitzcarraldo Editions, 2017.
Layout by Patrick Bailey.
Vinyl Pressed with Love at New Orleans Record Press.