Sunday, 20 March 2016

Album: Keith Burke and The Little Black Book - These Boys

Keith Burke and The Little Black Book
Photo: Itziar Telletxea

Keith Burke & The Little Black Book - Crazy Babe

Info: Dublin musician Keith Burke has recently released his sophomore album, These Boys, the follow up to 2008's No One Wants To Move, with an EP, Say The Words Again, appearing in between, with the help of his six-piece band, The Little Black Book. The album, which Burke describes as rock / acoustic, was recorded over in Orphan Studios last summer and produced by Gavin Glass.

A number of influences and sounds immediately strike me on the album's first couple of tracks, opening song 'A Brother To Hear Me Out' is like a mix of The Hothouse Flowers and Steve Harley's 'Make Me Smile', an upbeat and raucous beginning that introduces us to Burke's personality and sound.

The intro to 'Crazy Babe' (above) fleetingly reminded me of Deep Blue Something's 'Breakfast At Tiffany's', but this immediately subsides as the track takes on a folky string-laden hue. From that calm mood the album springs back to an up tempo and swinging cacophony of piano, sax and drums on 'Cut Our Teeth', you can tell Burke knows the importance of letting the music run amok when needs be and not over-thinking the minutae, anything but dull is the order of the day.

Keith Burke These Boys

The piano-laden 'Hey Come On Now Be Real' blends Marc Cohn's solemn 'Walking In Memphis' with later Van Morrison vibes. There's an interesting turn on 'Sounds Like Something John Might Play', a deft track with hints of the bossa nova styling's you'd associate with Astrud Gilberto's version of 'The Girl From Ipanema'.  

'She Packed Her Bags In Secret' calmly intertwines strings, piano and guitar like a tree slowly swaying in the wind, the melodies are enjoyable and you feel that Burke's vocals are most at home here, the mood is more withdrawn compared to the previous high jinks and is yet again similar to late 80's / early 90's songwriters within the pop-folk genre. Continuing in the same vein with the album's title track, proceedings are brought to a close on a note of pleasant and heartfelt calm. 

These Boys is a well produced album that Keith Burke and The Little Black Book should be very pleased with in terms of the music they have created on this collection of songs. From my own perspective the only two difficulties I can foresee are how Burke will be able to pitch it to a wider audience and demographic, and whether it has enough of a standout factor to ensure it can be differentiated from what his peers are also doing right now on what has become a very busy Irish music scene.

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