It has now become quite a common thing for an artist to move from one genre to another. This is particularly true, say, if you start out as a jazz experimentalist or an all-out rocker and, for whatever reason, move into a more mellow, singer/songwriter mode. Sometimes, the results turn out to be excellent, with the artist putting all he has got and all he had from his previous experiences into something new. Other times, this just turns out to be just acoustic noodling with lyrics that can fall into what could be called ‘my pains’. A very dreaded category.
Well, bassist/multi-instrumentalist Pat Keen has just travelled that road on Cells Remain, his latest release. He went from playing in the ‘pure’ rock band, Guerilla Toss, and as a bass player and improviser with the New England Conservatory, to trying his hand at a more introspective, singer/songwriter approach.
Luckily, Keen has applied all his previous musical experiences into some thoughtful, layered gentle stuff that at no point on the album strays into acoustic self-indulgence.
From the brilliant, opening title song, to some serious gems like “Screens,” with its understated bass clarinet, or a more upbeat “Torch” with its detailed instrumentation and vocals, this album is solid. Pat Keen may currently not be on so many ‘I have to hear this’ lists, but certainly should be.
SPILL ALBUM REVIEW: PAT KEEN – CELLS REMAIN