“When Smokey sings”, observed ABC’s Martin Fry,”I hear violins”. When Tim Keegan sings, however, the results are [I]nowhere near [/I]so flashy. For the sometimes-[a]Robyn Hitchcock[/a] collaborator writes subtly understated ditties presented in a faultlessly low-key fashion, so that, on first listen, they wash over you almost unnoticeably.
But give it a day. A day is all it takes, and then you will know how tracks like the beguiling ‘The New You’, or the languid ‘Save Me From Happiness’, or the ultimately salutary ‘(We’ve Got) Everything We Need’ subliminally assault your subconscious until your heart beats out their gentle pitter-patter rhythms, and your breathing pattern resembles their infectious melodies.
There’s nothing flashy about Tim or his Departure Lounge (his unobtrusive, perfectly deployed backing band). On tracks like ‘Postcard From A Friend’, his downbeat vocals resemble Damon Albarn at his least arch (‘This Is A Low’, say); elsewhere, they trace the melodies, with a Go-Betweens-esque grace and lightness.
Songs like ‘Music For Pleasure’, ‘The New You’ and ‘Disconnected’ could be casebook studies in flawless songwriting, recalling maybe prime Crowded House, even the odd Beatles-like flourish. This is great pop music, unadorned by spin, resolutely free of pretence. Look into the doe eyes staring out from inside the sleeve, give him a home for the summer. You’ll be glad you did.