The wait is finally over.
Keenan is well known for being a storyteller. However, the greatest story he’s written may very well be his own. Having moved to Liverpool in his teens to busk on its streets, to returning to find national fame in the passenger seat of a taxi, to releasing several well-received EPs, the release of his debut album seems like the obvious next chapter in the story.
Despite being a debut, A Beginner’s Guide to Bravery sounds nothing like it. Instead, Keenan sounds like an artist fully in control of his talents. Of course, the release of EPs and singles has afforded him time to perfect his sound. What’s more, many previously released singles appear on the album. Tracks such as “James Dean”, “Alter Wine” and “Evidence of Living” are already well known to his fans. The latter appeared on the Evidence of Living EP and is a particular favourite of mine. I was actually a little disappointed not to see “Postcards from Catalonia” on A Beginner’s Guide to Bravery.
The 11 tracks that make up the album flow as one, such as how “Good Old Days” transitions into “The Healing” which picks up the pace. The latter actually reminds me of The Frames.
Of course, A Beginner’s Guide to Bravery had to feature “Evidence of Living”. A favourite of mine, Keenan owes a lot to this track in particular regarding his rise. The closing track, “Subliminal Dublinia”, is one I feel may outlive anything else he produces in the future. That’s because of one line in particular.
While the below lyrics are somewhat of a rousing call for the discontent, it’s “Occupy the city with original ideas” that fans have been singing along to ever since he lead a group up Grafton Street in full voice.
“A revolution of the mind
And of the soul
And of the heart
Isn’t that a start?
I still love you
Isn’t that a start?
Occupy the city with original ideas (x10)
Isn’t that a start?”
And those lyrics my friends, were the perfect way to close out this album.
With artists like David Keenan rising out of the Irish music scene so frequently, we’re becoming a bit spoilt for choice here. That said, I don’t think anyone will start complaining anytime soon.