Led by enigmatic front-woman, guitarist and songwriter Keeley Moss, this Irish outfit went from strength to strength last summer with the success of break-out single “The Glitter And The Glue” from their debut EP ‘Brave Warrior’. While seeming to come from nowhere, Keeley had actually been a key figure on the Irish music scene for some years previous with her band Session Motts before deciding to forge a path entirely on her own in 2020. With the help of skilled Dublin producer Alan Maguire, she began to craft songs that encompassed her encyclopedic knowledge and passion for music stretching back to early Pink Floyd, The Pretenders, The Smiths, Pet Shop Boys and the rich vein that is the dreampop canon of the late 80s and early 90s. It would also be the point at which she decided to base her songwriting exclusively around the murder of Inga-Maria Hauser, a case that had fascinated her for many years and a subject she had written extensively about in her blog The Keeley Chronicles.
Determined to make her mark in Ireland she spent 2020 self-promoting to Irish media, gradually coming to the attention of national DJs and key music writers. Suddenly her songs “The Glitter And The Glue” and “Last Words” were on the national airwaves and her involvement with the Inga-Maria Hauser case was being picked up by the likes of The Belfast Telegraph and the Derry Post. In May 2021 a deal was struck with London
label Dimple Discs, home to Irish compatriots Cathal Coughlan, The Undertones, Sack and Eileen Gogan. The release of the ‘Brave Warrior’ EP in June was the catalyst for even more national Irish radio support, but now the word on “The Glitter and the Glue” had crossed the Irish Sea, and plays on BBC 6Music were becoming common with support from Steve Lamacq and Radcliffe & Maconie. Regional BBC support in Northern Ireland and Wales followed, as did American play on SiriusXM, college radio and hundreds of global internet radio programmes.
A second EP ‘Echo Everywhere’ landed in November, supported by further excellent radio and press reactions. On the live front, the band (Keeley – guitar & vocals, Martin Fagan – bass, Marty Canavan – keyboards) had recently added acclaimed Dublin drummer Tim O’Donovan to their ranks. Following a livestream performance at the Dublin Quays Festival in August, the band followed up with sold-out shows at Whelan’s main room in Dublin in October and The Lexington in London in December. Come the new year, Keeley were nominated by Ireland’s Hot Press as one of their “Hot for 2022” acts, and the stage was set for the next chapter in a story driven by self-belief, determination and a lifestyle devoted exclusively to music and songwriting.
Which brings us to “Drawn To The Flame”. A bittersweet title suggesting destiny and arrival, but also danger and ultimately, tragedy. Armed with seven new songs which showcase the maturity and breadth of KEELEY’s songwriting, this mini-album bristles with lush harmonies, muscular beats and inventive atmospherics, skipping gleefully across genres and further establishing Keeley Moss as one of Ireland’s most creative and visionary songwriters. As with previous songs, this set highlights Keeley’s ongoing fascination with the murder and short life of aforementioned teenage German backpacker Inga Maria-Hauser, who was brutally murdered in Northern Ireland in 1988 and whose case remains unsolved despite many promising leads pointing to the culprits. As an authority on the subject, Keeley has recently appeared in “Murder In The Badlands”, a moving BBC documentary that further explores Inga-Maria’s case. The album ends with a hidden track, the only known voice recording of Inga-Maria, a devoted artist and singer, which Keeley managed to procure from her family in Munich by way of a tribute.
Keeley herself notes… “We feel it is our best, and purest, sonic statement yet. The point at which even darker depths are delved into, peeling back layers of the story’s shell to reveal just how close to the flame I came – and how close to the flame I remain.”
What I love about this incredible album is how each track has its own unique sound which makes each single stand out in it’s own unique way. The tracks tell you a story and you feel you are having your very own personal gig which I feel adds more of a magical feel this this brilliant album.
The lyrics in each of the tracks will capture your imagination and I feel we can all relate to them, the vocals will draw you in within the first few seconds. The magical vocals capture your attention and really help to make each track sound so magical and just a joy to listen to.
This is an album we all need in our life’s especially during these strange times, but don’t just take my word for it, have a listen yourself.
By Ollie Cooper