What defines home? A place, a person or basically just a feeling? We might have all asked us this question at least once in our lifetime. And while it’s still quite unsure from time to time how to get there it’s a good feeling when you finally arrive. “Home is wherever you feel safe and calm, wherever you feel free to express and be yourself.” These words were spoken by KEEP SHELLY IN ATHENS lead singer Sarah P. She told NOTHING BUT HOPE AND PASSION in an interview that the upcoming debut album At Home is mainly inspired by the feeling of finding home when you can’t actually be there. On the road, away from the people you love and the things that matter. And after listening to At Home you can clearly sense that the favourite state of this almost anonymous dreampop duo is less a certain place but more a special transcendental one.
“Dreams are the perfect way to escape reality” told us Sarah during the chat. And it’s what the music of KEEP SHELLY IN ATHENS is all about. Very spherical and well aware of it’s indefinite description. Electronic synthie-pop with a tendency of drifting away. “Time is spend to forget” sings Mrs. P in the epic album opener Time Exists Only To Betray Us. Altough the short first track comes with heavy drums and big sounds the rest of the album prefers to float a bit more discreet. Oostende and the grooving Recollection show the pop appeal of the Greek duo. They aren’t afraid of writing a catchy tune as long as it fits their familiar sound structures.
It’s the combination of powerful electronic sounds that constantly remind you of something you’ve heard somewhere else before and repetitive loops with Sarah being the almost ghostly voice to accompany them. Her vocals are not the main subject, they are just another facet that perfectly fits to the bigger picture. It’s moments like the brilliant Flyaway that represent this composition. A groovy beat, a tender voice and big synthie pads that almost remind you a bit of 90s dance music. Not the groove, but the sound. The intro of Stay Away does the same. KEEP SHELLY IN ATHENS take elements and sounds from the history of electronic music and mix them together quite naturally. Nothing seems forced, everything is at the right place.
Rougher moments, like the epic finale of Madmen Love, are not common on the album. The dreamy side wins and the power of this big synthetic musical landscapes might even be bigger than the songs itself. For a debut record At Home makes quite a lot right and far less wrong than other debuts. Of course, there seems to be a red line missing within some of these diversified tunes. But what would be more boring than already arriving at the finish line? KEEP SHELLY IN ATHENS have just started and the future looks quite fine. This longplayer might not be your new home but it welcomes you with open arms to its world.