Album Review: Billy Keane – The Nearness of You EP – NMF Winner Ep. 44

Billy Keane
“The Nearness of You EP” Review
By: Dayna Duncan

The sun in shining today—it’s 78 degrees. Spring has officially sprung where I’m at. (Korea, for all who wonder…or wander. Boom.) It’s the perfect kind of day to listen to a good artist who matches this spring-ness with a little folk, a little rock, a little melancholy, and a little joy. Billy Keane’s EP “The Nearness of You” is that for me today. Billy, a London singer-songwriter reminiscent of Ray Lamantagne or Ryan Adams, but with the smooth vocals similar to Ed Sheeran, has talent for days. He has a very attractive sound, meaning he pulls you in with his melodic, lyrical goodness, and makes you feel peaceful as you take that sip of lemonade and enjoy the sun on your face. Or beer. Whatever floats your boat?

The first of the four EP songs and title track “The Nearness of You” is automatically chill and smooth, with the acoustic guitar and ethereal layered BGV’s. Lyrics about beauty, love, and absence, it’s simple yet warm. In the second verse, the sound shifts into a tiny little spell of punk rock, making the song take flight and really make you enjoy the ride. The song is light, fun, and despite the lyric “I miss the nearness of you,” I oddly feel happy.

Track two, “Stargazer” makes me feel like I’ve stepped into a Parisian street or stumbled upon a few teddy bears dancing a “La La Land”-esque dance through the stars. As odd a picture I just painted, what I’m TRYING to say is that it’s adorable. Using what sounds like some kind of lute and marimba, it makes me feel airy and joyful on a European street holding hands with my love. The lyrics about how looking at the stars makes him think of his love, with beautiful poetry and lovely pictures painted, I thoroughly enjoy it.

The third track called “Moment” is what the folk, singer-songwriter sound is about. It’s acoustic guitar driven and simple, but not boring. There are some really nice layered melodic vocals throughout, especially after the second chorus. Struggling with knowing if he was loved or just “another hurdle” is sort of heartbreaking but beautiful songwriting.

“No One” is also of the same thread as “Moment” with it’s folk sound. Adding the piano in the second verse adds a nice element we hadn’t heard yet. Strong piano chords beneath the arpeggiated guitar, it’s a full and clean sound. In the bridge there’s some layering of the main vocal adding to the fullness. Once the drums join in, we finish out this fourth song on a nice, clean, and hopeful sound. Will the guy get the girl? I don’t know, Billy. Does he?

I very much liked listening to this EP and really look forward to Billy Keane’s future in music. It’s a clean, well-produced album full of very good songwriting and preforming. What more can you ask for on a gorgeous spring day? (Maybe a Jack and Coke. I’d like one of those, actually.)

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