Scout: All Those Relays
After reconstructing the entire band around her, Ashen Keilyn has released Scout’s first record since 2003 titled All Those Relays. Keilyn was joined on the album by co-producer and guitarist Steve Schiltz (of Longwave and Hurricane Bells,) co-producer and drummer Jim Eno (of Spoon,) and Longwave’s Jason Molina and Shannon Ferguson. Funds for this independent album were raised on Kickstarter, which proves that Scout fans were so eager for a new album that they were willing to put money towards its production. Scout’s $5000 Kickstarter goal was reached in June 2011. That’s no surprise given that Scout’s prior albums have been met with critical acclaim and their songs have been featured in television shows and commercials.
The funds and hard work came together to create a catchy pop album. Keilyn’s low, hushed, flawless vocals sound similar to Liz Phair or early Sheryl Crow. Her lyrics drip with the emotions of strained relationships, capturing the dysfunction an on-again, off-again couple. Keilyn presents an empowered stance through her lyrics, the strength she conveys suggests that she’s taking a stand in the relationship. Each song tells a different story, from frustration in “So Close” and “Some Things Never Change,” fighting in “Please Excuse Me,” reconciliation in “Wrong from Right,” to sweet nothings in “Tongue Tied.” The lyrics are simple and relatable. “Please Excuse Me” is reminiscent of pop-punk band Gob’s later work, catchy yet angst-ridden.
Each song is distinctive from each other yet the lyrics, and sometimes the sounds, within each song are repetitive. I would love for more lyrics so that fewer lines were repeated in a couple of the songs. In “Wrong from Right,” the word “no” is repeated over fifty times due to its use in a hook. It’s not just lyrics that become repetitive: the piano’s melody in “Hawthorne” is eight beats long; seven of those beats are the same staccato note repeated. This becomes rather grating by the end of the song. Perhaps if it had been mixed so that the piano wasn’t so dominant, the listener’s focus could shift back to Keilyn’s beautiful vocals (where it rightfully should be.)
Each song has musical layers. For “Under Attack,” there were 128 tracks recorded. Three drum, three bass, and multiple vocal tracks were used in the final mix. The layered tracks give each song on the album depth. Your ear may catch something new each time you give the album a close listen. The depth and layering are noticeable on “So Close,” which you can find below. The layers are added slowly: it starts simply with a pulsing muted guitar, which is eventually joined by thumping drums, then the music becomes rich with the addition of another guitar, bass guitar,and backup vocals. Not only is it an example of Scout’s layering, but the difference between the low, hushed verses and the pretty chorus give a sample of Keilyn’s beautiful vocals and emotionally-charged lyrics.
MP3: Scout “So Close”
Scout: All Those Relays