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Album review: She's A Keeper - She's A Keeper

Album review: She's A Keeper - She's A Keeper

Someone get Zach Braff on the phone. He is going to want to get in on She’s a Keeper before someone else does. Having already packed local clubs to capacity and having performed at Midcoast Takeover this year at South by Southwest, if you haven’t heard of this band yet, you damn well should have. And assuming the band keeps making albums like this one, you will hear of She’s a Keeper whether you want to or not.

She's A Keeper really hit the purposefully rusted nail on the head with this effort. These cool kids got off the bus in some random Kentucky town and quickly put the from-the-jug drinking locals to shame. It makes me wonder which one offered up his or her poor young soul to the devil to comprehend and create alt folk rock so well. It is really, really good. As a fellow local musician, I have to admit it is angry good. It is jealous good. It is damn impressive.

She’s a Keeper pulls off this click of music to near perfection. The more rock moments tinge on the metronomic energy of Phoenix. The upbeat songs are a hootin’ and hollerin’ good time, reminiscent of the Avett Brothers’ early work. The slower, “purtier” efforts tenderly kick you in the stomach and leave you wanting to thank the boot.

Songs like “Guidance” and “Love Me Like a Summer” carry a consistent yet dynamic energy. As is typical in this modern-folk-rock genre, She’s a Keeper enjoys being playful with song structures, often utilizing beat and meter changes to keep the ears surprised.

In “Branches,” my favorite tune of this bunch, the band shows a masterful control of its music. The song is built up and torn down many times in many unique ways, yet it never seems excessive. It features a grand range of instrumentation, but, impressively, each instrument is used in exactly the right amount and way. The restraint and respect shown to the song as a whole is something from which even the most seasoned songwriters could take a cue.

The following two tracks showcase the other side of what She's A Keeper can do. “Hometown” is a stripped-down effort overflowing with honesty and emotion. It produces the power and impact of the previous track, but with 20 percent of the instrumentation. “Show Me State” starts out very much the same, featuring only the comforting flicker of a xylophone to accompany the spot-on harmony vocals and layered guitar. But just when you think they’re losing their steam, the rest of the band return and bring the track to an exciting and dynamic conclusion. I would say without reservation it is the best three-song stretch I have heard on an album (local or not) in quite a while.

And so it continues over the 12 songs. There are not a lot of criticisms to be had here. The album does lack an obvious radio single, but as soon as She's A Keeper stumbles upon its “Caring is Creepy” or “Lisztomania,” all bets are off.

Do yourself a favor. Go “like” this band now. Go get this record. She’s a Keeper is doing it right, and you should know about it.

She's A Keeper will be performing this Friday, June 29 at recordBar for Chris Haghirian's birthday bonanza, which begins at 9:00 p.m. with Georgia Gordon, Stephen Paul Smoker and Hearts of Darkness. Tickets are $10 and are available here.

 -Zach Hodson

Zach is a lifetime Kansas City resident who plays multiple instruments and sings in Dolls on Fire, as well as contributing to many other Kansas City music, art, and comedy projects.  He is very fond of edamame, treats his cat Wiley better than he treats himself, and doesn't want to see pictures of your newborn child (seriously, it looks like a potato).

Editor's note: This album was released in 2011 and followed up by a live recording performed at Midwestern Musical Co earlier this year. She's A Keeper will be releasing a follow-up studio album in August.

Published: June 28, 2012 |

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