Title: The Weasel is at The Bridge
Label: Waltz Time
Although this is Chin Keeler’s second album, don’t dismiss the man as a beginner. He has been involved in a variety of outfits from Milk and Quickspace to Dark Captain and Firestations.
The general album tone is upbeat while Keeler enjoys projecting his songs through a a treated, double or triple tracked delivery, something he shares with John Lennon (maybe he also shares a certain lack of vocal confidance then?). Unlike much of Lennon’s work, though, there is a lack of variation and true invention in much of this album. OK, there is an initially appealing Mercury Rev-like direction to much of Keeler’s songs but he lacks the layering, the twists, turns and surprises that keep the ear glued to the song. Keeler likes to plough on regardless. He tends to batter you into submission with much of his work, relying on his own multi-part harmony multitrack to add delicacy and flavour to a stew that lacks flavour and depth.
In sonic terms, the album has been recorded with some compression elements added, especially to the midrange and upper frequencies. At high frquencies, there is some slight edge to the midrange and the upper mids and treble is slightly clinical but, in general terms, the effects are not deleterious. I could just about live with this album and not be too distracted by the mastering. Also, in general terms, the vocal harmonies are open and relatively airy with a fairly spacious soundstage that gives the music a rather immediate and sweeping aspect.
Keeler needs to slow down. No, strike that. He needs to stop, live in a cave for a bit, shut up and listen to the world around him for a change and connect to the rhythms of life. He could learn a thing or two