Keen Garrity Gets Down on Get Big LP
There’s a couple of thematic elements that immediately leap out of Keen Garrity’s new album Get Big that characterize her work as a whole.
The first, and possibly most delectable, is her affinity for background vocals. Several of these numbers are highlighted by various oohs, aahs, and planned non-verbal melodies that brighten many of the lead vocals. This form of harmonizing picks things up quite nicely on the second verse of the leadoff number “Shotgun”, helping maintain interest and heighten its affective appeal.
A smattering of aahs produces a similar effect on “Casting You Out”, with a melody possibly more pleasing than that of the lead vocals. The most potent example of her propensity in this regard is on “Walkabout/Stroll On” in which her oohs morph into wahoos, the same sound that popularized many doo wop tracks and some of Billy Joel’s best, too.
Lyrically, she tends to stick to a raconteur’s perspective, which is an effective means of engaging the listener outside of rhythmic and melodic appeal. Moreover, not each tale is about a he or lover, either. The titular cut gives you nearly eight minutes of a female protagonist’s life from her departure from the womb, demonstrating the artist’s knack for details in a thematic sense characterized by country western singers and 90’s era emcees.
Another solid standout element is the trove of instrumentalism typifying this collection of songs. Garrity alone is credited with tickling the (acoustic) piano, synthesizers, organ, and bass, many of which are heard on the same tune. She’s also behind the drum programming and vocals, of course, while the lead guitars were wonderfully worked by Will Malone. Thus, with Garrity modulating any number of sounds and aforementioned instruments, Malone goes to town with a plethora of western, acoustic, and electric sounding guitars that provide a sophisticated sonic framework for her storytelling and high notes.
This kaleidoscope of instruments, sounds, background. and foreground vocals might meet its apex on “Shotgun”, which starts with bouncing synths, a warbling electric guitar, and a wonderful melody draping all of the above. It sounds so good it borders on pop and is demonstrative of how well Garrity can freak this combination of elements.