Single Reviews: 10 September 2023: Keeley, Henry Hall, NYSZA, The Lovelines, wishshes

Photo by Wanchai Thiantanawat

Keeley - Arrive Alive 


Fronted by inventive singer-songwriter and guitarist Keeley Moss, Keeley is a Dublin-based group that deals in ultra-personalized blasts of hazy and bewitching psychedelic pop-rock songs. Their debut album, Floating Above Everything Else, may draw from the macabre subject matter of an unsolved murder, but it is a colourful and often upbeat collection of bizzaro art-pop. From that album comes "Arrive Alive", an energetic track with snappy bass and drums, delivering a pop chorus with a perception-enhancing mood. While there is a nostalgic feeling reminiscent of 90s-style pop hooks, there's something immediate and modern in the way Keeley delivers nuanced emotions in a straightforward package.

Henry Hall - Jeff


US artist Henry Hall paints an exquisite portrait of a complicated relationship on his recent single "Jeff". Taken from his upcoming sophomore album I Feel Amazing, the falsetto singer delicately weaves a character study around acoustic and electronic instrumentation while offering comedic explicitness ('Jeff, for the love of God, don't ever tell me that story again'). This offhand nature is deceptive, and there's a wealth of focus and purpose to be found on this substantial track, which rises and falls with dynamic intensity, inviting the listener on a rollercoaster of candid expression and vocals so impassioned and soulful you can't help but relate. The track comes with a minimalist video from director Hannah Claire Baker, which sees Henry Hall (who also has a career in acting) sitting on a chair and singing this song with candour. All in all, Hall is an artist uninterested in pretence or cheap commercial takes, preferring instead to craft slices of life via songs steeped in candour.

NYSZA - When The Purest Magic Breaks

spoken word / experimental 

From Garhwal Himalayas in India, NYSZA, real name Ananya Panwar, is an artist with many colours on her palette. Mixing imagistic poetry delivered in spoken word fashion with subtle ambient soundscapes, 'When The Purest Magic Breaks' is a transcendent track from the recent album of the same name. Currently a PhD researcher at the Royal College of Music in London, NYSZA deals with the heavy subject matter of 'identity, displacement, transformation, and the decolonisation of love and queerness,' but her work is more accessible than one might expect, and the universal theme of overcoming pain and dealing with its abstract nature will be recognisable to all lucky enough to happen upon this majestic, deeply emotional and explorative track.

The Lovelines - May Be Love 

pop rock

Todd Goings and Tessa D are a brother and sister musical duo who go by the stage name The Lovelines. Though based on separate continents (musician Todd living in North America and vocalist Tessa in Europe), their romantic songs have a modern and irreverent edge that renders them more indie than poppy, though there's no denying the light-heartedness of their recent single 'May Be Love.' A sliding guitar riff, laid-back drums, and impressively refined vocals combine to make a succinct track about the insecurity that accompanies falling in love. While just two and a half minutes long, the track produces an indelible effect, with the group's economical approach cutting through the noise and going straight for the innocence of love.

wishshes - A soft drizzle or earth kissing me all over


New York electronic duo wishshes paid particular attention to the sound design of their recent single, the poetically titled 'A Soft Drizzle or Earth Kissing Me All Over,' turning the undemanding pop vocals and catapeltic percussion of this track into something super atmospheric and warm. The voice has a hyper-pop edge and has been manipulated and mutated, sometimes beyond comprehensibility, but the feeling is still present, and the vocals sound at once like a cry for help and a sultry expression of the erotic. The foundation of melodically rich instrumentation keeps things moving forward, but the sum of the parts, the hard-hitting gentleness of the duo's production work, makes the longest-lasting impression.