Conrad Keely – “Original Machines”

KeelyConrad Keely is a favorite of mine. He is best known as the singer and leader of …And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead. That band has been making some of my favorite music for years now. Their last album “IX” was another triumph. When I heard that Keely was doing a solo album, my initial though was that it would be just a continuation of Trail of Dead. But that is silly because it marginalizes the contributions of the other guys in that band.

And that is what makes “Original Machines” both good and bad. This album allows Keely to do whatever he wishes and at the same time allows us to separate him from this main band. While I do like this album, there are 2 issues that I have with it. First and foremost, it just is not as good as a Trail of Dead album. They are definitely a band that feeds off of each other.

Secondly, while all of these songs are very good (“In Words Of A Not So Famous Man”) and some are excellent (“Nothing That I Meant”), there are too many songs and many of them are far too brief. Had Keely segued them together more (like Trail of Dead often does), it would have made the album flow MUCH better and perhaps made this album essential. Instead, the album feels more like various ideas and themes recorded for posterity rather than a grand statement.

As it stands, “Original Machines” feels like a batch of leftovers that are reheated for dinner a few nights later. It’s fine but you really wish that you’d been invited to the main dinner. I would be very curious what the entire band could have done with this notes and sketches that are on this album. All that said, Keely is a brilliant artist and I still enjoy “Original Machines.” It just makes me want a new Trail of Dead album SOON!

Rating: 7.5/10

1. Original Machines
2. Warm Insurrection
3. In Words Of A Not So Famous Man
4. Inside The Cave
5. Drive To Kampot
6. Engines Of The Dark
7. Your Tide Is Going Out
8. Row Away
9. Lost The Flow
10. Nothing That I Meant (Interstellar)
11. The Jungles
12. All That’s Left Is Land
13. Hills Of K-Town
14. Drive Back To Phnom Penh
15. Forbidden Stones
16. Out On The Road
17. Rays Of The Absolute
18. Trust The Knowledge
19. Looking For Anchors
20. All Molton
21. Waimanalo Drive
22. Spotlight On The Victor
23. Marcel Was Here
24. Before The Swim

Label: Superball Music

About Rob

I have been a fan of progressive metal and progressive rock for most of my life. My music collection is insanely large. My passion for life is music!
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