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On August 6 2020 Ian Daniel Kehoe released three full length albums in one day. Each of the albums inhabits a distinct world of sound (Lennon-esque balladry, guitar rock anthems, and disco pop respectively), matched by a powerful lyricism of curiosity and wonder.
The 2020 triptych revealed Kehoe as a breathlessly creative mind difficult to pin to one genre and with an undeniable clarity of vision in his melodic and lyrical powers. His latest record, Yes Very So, arrives after this exploratory and prolific period, settling on a dialectical form of meditation and self-discovery, it reveals both Kehoe’s most gentle and jubilant sounds yet.
Adopting a structure akin to Ryuchi Sakamoto’s work of the 1980s, the album balances evocative instrumentals and bold, melodic avant-pop, unafraid to guide the listener through an emotional and dynamic reconciliation of these two extremes. In its instrumental mode, the record is crystalline and languid, a palette of beautifully sequenced synthesizer pieces and warm, centered drum machine pockets. These pieces recall the striking beauty of Beverley Glenn Copeland’s Keyboard Fantasies or Hiroshi Yoshimura’s Green, crafting living environments that unravel their sights with patience and astonishment. In its pop mode, the record is unstoppable. Drum machines barrell and strut, icy synths and foggy horns dance around Kehoe’s nimble and rhythmic vocals, landing hook after hook. Sonically it recalls the ebuillant dance music of Pet Shop Boys or Human League; music to lose yourself in dance. Lyrically, it eschews the disaffected irony of 80’s pop writing for something more lucid and philosophical, a sensual curiosity in how we make sense of our physical and emotional worlds.YVS. The record title takes form in the latent heaviness of abbreviated modern communication; an anchoring slogan affirming and declaring a love extending outward and enveloping inward. Arriving, ultimately, in repose.
1. Structured Silk
3. J’taime Amen
5. Sweet & Sour
7. Yes Very So
8. Spec 3
9. Art Work Circle