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  • Writer's pictureAC (QSO)

Keep Back Ivy: Where We Are Going - EP Review

A stunning collection of political bangers.

Most bands struggle to get it right first time and take several releases to develop their sound before releasing something truly excellent. With that in mind, it’s remarkable to think that Where We Are Going is Keep Back Ivy’s debut EP; the quality is so high that you'd think they were seasoned veterans already. I'd been highly anticipating the record after hearing plenty of great singles from them - my favourite being last year’s Glitch - and now that their first EP is here, it slaps. Each track feels vital and urgent, making for a stunning collection of political bangers.

Lead track Won’t Forget You is possibly my favourite song of the band’s career. The waltzing arpeggiation immediately reminded me of early Nine Inch Nails or Arab Strap, setting a foreboding precedent for the darkness which follows. Any disenchanted left-winger will immediately relate to this mournful banger that laments the death of a mainstream socialist movement in the UK. Through the darkness emerges a razor-sharp hook that’s cynical yet anthemic, making for a perfect introduction into the band’s world.

Each pair of songs work as counterparts to each other. In the EP’s immediately catchy first half, Won’t Forget You’s scathing condemnations of the sad state of the Labour party complements Endless Cycle’s anti-capitalist, anti-Tory rage. The latter track's arrangement is reminiscent of a lost Saddle Creek gem from the mid-2000s, with its hypnotic bassline and rippling keys which give way to a ripper of a guitar solo. It’s a perfect pairing of songs, each one’s lyrical content elevating the other.

Whereas the EP’s first half compares Labour’s incompetence to the Tories’ evil greed, the second half turns its lens further inward on two deeply personal tracks. You Don’t Know Me is an intense jolt of energy that decries the portrayal of political activists in the media; a rebuttal against right-wing propaganda over an infectious drum machine. The closing title track is a gentle lullaby that offers a glimpse of hope - or, at least, acceptance. It’s the shortest and most soothing song here, and it’s a perfect closer to a phenomenal record. Keep Back Ivy are aware of how bad things are, but have given us the perfect soundtrack for these troubled times.

Highlight tracks: Won't Forget You, Endless Cycle

Key lyric: It doesn't even have to make sense, but you'll still become your worst enemy.


AC is the Head of Written Content at QSO Media. Read more of their articles here.

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