Departure Lounge

Out of Here

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Tim Keegan steps out from his frequent role as a guitarist for Robyn Hitchcock with an album of graceful, pristine pop songs. Sounding not unlike the Pernice Brothers with a touch of British psychedelia, Keegan and his bandmates use lush arrangements, subtle song structures, and lazy-day vocals in creating a genuinely touching atmosphere. Though the songs are good enough that they would sound just fine in a spare acoustic setting, the band employs oboes, stylophones, flamenco guitars, and help from Cocteau Twin Simon Raymonde to add worlds of style points. The pedal steel guitar of Tim Walker on "Save Me from Happiness" is a particular treat. The song's repeated chorus of "Save me from happiness" works in a similar way as the repetition of "It's not a real love affair" on "Slow News Day." Keegan shows himself possessed of Joe Pernice's talent for drenching songs with emotion via both execution and lyrics. Imagining Out of Here as a carnivalesque cousin to Pernice's Chappaquiddick Skyline project seems wholly appropriate. Where Pernice sings about hating his life, Keegan delicately asks how he can improve his life. Like Pernice, Keegan varies his tempos and introduces bombast where appropriate. "(We've Got) Everything We Need" puts Brit-pop bands like Oasis and Embrace to shame, rocking out with the substance and sense of musical history those bands lack. "Johnny A." comes across like Magical Mystery Tour-era John Lennon, as Keegan sings that he's "planting the seeds." Indeed, he does seem to be planting the seeds of an excellent career as a songwriter/performer. Out of Here is an amazing sleeper of an album that reveals its charms on first listen and grows more vital with each listen thereafter.

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