Keep Shelley in Athens - ‘At Home’ | Album Review
In its essence, Keep Shelly in Athens’ ‘At Home’ is a standard dream pop record. It’s catchy and enjoyable, though at times feels slightly anomalous with what a listener comes to expect from the duo - either through its daring inconsistencies, or formulaic meekness. It ticks all the right boxes then, but perhaps in the wrong order.
Discrepancies aside, Keep Shelly in Athens have never sought to reinvent the wheel on this record, as singles ‘Recollection’, ‘Oostende’, and ‘Madmen Love’ proved. And in isolation, these tracks proved to be exceptional. Meticulously crafted, and ever so slightly indulgent; it’s difficult not to find yourself swaying or bobbing along to them, and certainly showcased KSIA’s appeal to a T. But perhaps these few singles were the best offering, and as such the remainder of ‘At Home’ falls short of expectation.
Not to say the record doesn’t have its moments. ‘Time Exists Only to Betray Us’ - with its droney undercurrents, buzzy pulse, and Sarah P’s wailing voice - really stands out, and serves as the record well as an intro; ‘Room 14 (I’m Fine)’, brings to mind the churning repetition of Cocteau Twins’ ‘Garlands’ in no bad way; ‘Knife’, clocking in at just under two minutes, packs a vital punch to the latter B side with a healthy dose of sinister aggression; and ‘Sails’ with its fluttery M83-esque sentimentality is worth another listen.
It is not impossible to see the appeal of ‘At Home’ then. Its spritely charms more often than not outweigh its flaws. But perhaps ‘At Home’ falls on one important point; its lack of cohesion, track to track; and as such, the songs on display here fare better in an individual light, than under scrutiny of the album as a whole.
Stream ‘At Home’ in its entirety right here: