[sic] Magazine

Keel Her – Keel Her

You’re not going to read a review of Keel Her without also reading mention of prolific lo-fi legend R. Stevie Moore. This is because in the equally prolific Rose Keeler-Schäffeler he has identified a kindred spirit, since becoming a mentor of sorts and even going so far as to provide bass duty and a synthy remix of one of her tracks here. True, Keeler-Schäffeler is a one-woman whirlwind and she has literally hundreds of tracks in the bank so you’d think these 18 would be some of the best, right? In reality however this is a pretty varied album in terms of material, quality and track length.

Steve Albini once wrote a letter to Nirvana that said “Making punk records is definitely a case where more “work” does not imply a better end result” and that “if a record’s taking more than a week to make, somebody’s fucking up”. Keeler-Schäffeler nails this ethos precisely despite her LP being very much a record of two halves. Side A is full of those fuzzy, early Best Coast stoner jams that got us all hot under the collar a few years back. Killer C86 melodies come buried beneath tape-deck hiss therefore and though Keel Her may have missed the party a little with such tricks these tracks still sound great.

Dotted around the mix you also get a bratty garage-punk nugget in the shape of “Go”, as well as a “scuzzed-up” reworking of previous single “Riot Girl” that is obliterated by distortion and murk and brings those early Dead Gaze demos to mind, particularly when a sweet post-punk solo rises up out of the murk. You’ll find the super-awesome “(I Hate It) When You Look At Me” too, which takes down the tempo and enters the dreamy noise-pop realm of Joanna Gruesome as it goes.

On the flip we encounter more experimental and electronic avenues and, it must be said, less consistency. So, amongst ambient instrumentals and thrashing, minute-long overdrives you get insubstantial loops and whimsical bedroom electro. So too though do you get the surprising trip-hop remix of “Whatever”, which works nicely but seems to beam in from someone else’s album all the same. The kinda cool “Missing Time” stretches out dial-tones into trilling drones and sounds like cross-dimensional interference too, but of course Keeler-Schäffeler wouldn’t have any other way. Still, even if you don’t dig side B, you surely won’t have long to wait for Keel Her’s next steps.

Best tracks: “Riot Girl” and “(I Hate It) When You Look At Me”.

~Keel Her is out now on Critical Heights.~