Premiere: The magnificent Key Out return with the ethereal single ‘Face’ and news of signing to the iconic False Peaks Records label. A match made in musical heaven.

We are absolutely catatonic with joy to be able to bring you the first listen to the new single ‘Face’ from Sydney band Key Out – one of the most exciting and underrated antipodean bands in recent times. And if that wasn’t enough to gladden a heavy heart, Key Out have announced they have signed with one of the most innovative and creative labels in Australia, Brisbane’s chic and boutique False Peak Records.

It’s been two tumultuous years since Key Out released their stunning album ‘anthropomorphia’ – an elegant album that remains for me one of the most outstanding releases both here and internationally (see my review here). But, as things go in this industry, the release was cruelly overlooked by mainstream media in favour of the shallow and rank bilge we are often plied with. Other than a few rare live appearances (one which enticed me on a mid COVID interstate visit last year for a review), the band has been quiet.

Now, with ‘Face’, the band, under the capable steerage of Patrick Haid, has returned triumphantly with one of the sonic highlights of the year so far. The delicate and shimmering sounds of ‘Face’ are filled with lusciously jangling guitars, deep and evocative lyrics and a sense of eternal longing that threads its way through the indelible melodies as Haid sings I miss your face. It is really pulse quickening stuff, bringing with it that strange kind of joy you get when a favourite artist’s new release meets and exceeds all that came before: a rare and wonderful experience.

The lyrics and the accompanying video feature Key Out’s trademark fey and wistful demeanour – referencing the exigencies of the COVID era, separation and longing, coping with isolation and distance from loved ones. A serious matter for our times, but treated with a self-deprecatory sense of humour in the video: gentle and wry.

‘Face’ is out via False Peak Records on Friday, 8 July 2022 through the usual streaming sites, and is further evidence of what I call the Marrickville Sound emanating from Australia: innovative and mature guitar based indie fare from the inner city land of Albo, the newly minted ultra cool Prime Minister.

And what of this joyous connection to False Peak Records? It is always discombobulating when two separate worlds collide, albeit operating in the same universe. My admiration for the work done by Brisbane’s False Peak Records know no bounds – see my interview with chief polymath Remy Boccalatte. Boccalatte exclusively and eloquently reveals to Backseat Mafia the detailed history behind this collaboration:

It started with ‘First Translated in 1965’. The EP from ‘Ides of Space’ (Patrick Haid’s first band – Ed.) found itself into my collection during a period of significant influx of music exposure, where naturally, connections were made quickly while other acts fell into the periphery. For me, Ides of Space epitomised the Sydney sound that still forms my basis of comparison now. I don’t exactly know what it was; perhaps their clean progressions and sheeny vocal timbre. In any case, they were one of only a few Australian acts at the time (like Blueline Medic) that I felt really held their own in the genre compared to the appeal I had for emo bands from the late 90s/early 2000s mostly from the US. Finding ‘Sleeping Fractures’ in a next door record store while seeing the Vagrant Tour in Florida further solidified just where an Aussie band could get their music distributed to, thanks to this release on Better Looking Records (who’d I’d known through The Jealous Sound).

Fast forward ten years and I found myself recording in Sydney with the Hungry Kids of Hungary for their second album with the legendary Wayne Connolly, who recorded the Ides of Space EP, and our conversations in the studio definitely brought a sense of nostalgia. Keep in mind that I was not to even meet Pat until yet another few years later.

I was lined up to open a show solo thanks to friends at Hobble, and when they mentioned that Key Out, who were launching their new EP, were the remnants of Ides of Space, well Pat at the very least, I jumped at the opportunity. Funnily enough that show featured a lineup of members of bands that I have had the privilege of releasing this year (YEARNS and Terra Pines). Anyway, Pat commented on my songwriting, and I was already a fan of his unmistakable voice, and we agreed to send each other copies of our respective albums – Key Out’s ‘What Do You See’, and my ‘Swimming Over Faultlines’ (as I had just started False Peak).

We managed to catch up a couple of times over the following years: Vivid live to see Jonsi and Alex and the Opera House, and a sweet song riders concert where we rode bikes around suburban Sydney playing solo sets at interesting locations. When ‘Anthropomorphia’ came out, Pat asked if An Heirloom would do a remix of the single ‘Chorus’. I mean the track was already so good, so I just sang falsetto over it, while Andrew glitched the hell out of the beats. Thanks for covering that one too. It was probably the first introduction to Backseat Mafia too If I remember correctly.

And that brings us to now. I’m so stoked to be working with Pat and Key Out- that sound, one which continues to remind me so much of my past yet brought into the present.

In turn, Haid tells us:

We’re putting our new record out with Remy and False Peak. I’ve liked his style and the releases he’s been putting out for a while, and it was actually your interview with him that really made me start thinking about them as a home for the record…Anyway the interview was great and Remy’s really thoughtful about music…

The exciting collaboration will see a new album ‘afterville’ from Key Out in the near future – their third. The rosy fingers of dawn are indeed creeping tentatively over the horizons after many months of darkness.

An east coast tour will follow the release of ‘afterville’. I’d better start saving for another trip.

‘Face’ was recorded and performed by the band at home (with a cameo by Dave Challinor from
Sounds Like Sunset), mixed by Wayne Connolly (Underground Lovers, Hoodoo Gurus), and mastered by Mikey Young (Eddy Current Suppression Ring).

And here is a link to ‘anthopormorphia’ – an album that should be in any discerning musical collection.

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