Keith: Mona Lisa's Child
Mona Lisa’s Child from Lucky Number’s eclectic prodigies Keith is the second single taken from their much acclaimed debut album Red Thread.
From four headstrong characters, with wildly different musical roots, ‘Mona Lisa’s Child’, finds Keith front man – Oli Bayston – at his most cathartic and honest. The lyrics tell a tale of anger & desperation with an angst-crossed lover musing over the breakdown of a relationship where love tried but ultimately failed. Vulnerable, pensive and impassioned, ‘you were crying, you were shouting, screaming, “like me, love me”; I think I tried‘. You’ll dance ’til your stiletto heels snap off, though your mascara may run along the way.
The epic full-length version ensures that ‘Mona Lisa’s Child’ is always the euphoric send-off in Keith’s live set, whilst a fresh radio edit comes from the twiddling thumbs of Dan Carey whose recent studio credits include work with international artists such as Kelis and Sia. The edit straddles the impossible, maintaining the suspense and sensibility of the full-length thriller, whilst enhancing the upfront, almost Latin, attitude that gets those Bez style activists going at the gigs
Indeed, after working with high-class producers Matthew ‘Bodily Functions’ Herbert and the impressively pervading James Ford of Simian Mobile Disco, Keith have become the band for a new generation of indie kids. A band for those who like to take their reflections out of the bedroom and onto the dance floor. Keith have also caught the ear of Lily Allen who after catching them live asked the boys to collaborate on her soon-to-be-massive full-length debut missive, ‘Alright Still’. The track is called ‘Take What You Take’, and sees Lily gatecrash Mancunia vibes with her own inimitable style.
This time round, the remixes have come from the cream of the crop of Europe’s leftfield dance cognoscenti. ‘Mona Lisa’s Child’ has even managed to awaken the ultra selective masters of French electro-divinity remixing, Alain Braxe and Fred Falke from their spring slumbers. With nods to Baker, Moroder, and New Order along the way, it all brings a touch of Manchester’s bittersweet disco lineage to Keith’s unmistakable sound. The ultra-hip drummer from Who Made Who, TOMBOY, delivers a sexy, dubbier disco take with explosions of rhythm & percussion, whilst JAKE BULLIT‘s unique electro twist shows why his remix of Arctic Monkeys’ ‘Bigger Boys…’ is soon to be released. Finally, Portland, Oregon’s new shining sons Blitzen Trapper take the track’s hooky melodic mantra and infuse it with a blend of fuzz, funk, broodiness, and ‘Popcorn’-esque bleeps that would leave even the mighty Twinings envious!
All this is backed with new B-Sides, Memoir, a groove attack produced by collaborator James Ford, and Replica, an experimental dub, once again enhanced by Dan Carey‘s switchblade tape editing skills.
On the off chance your radio has accidentally been tuned to Derivative FM and you’re new to one of the UK’s genuinely most exciting new bands; Keith are a poignant package of sophisticated indie-dance for today’s musical intelligentsia. Think Radiohead at their funkiest with Morrissey at his most observant, buying vegetarian pork-scratchings at the bar of their local disco.
It’s for this reason the boys have been picking up industry accolades left, right and centre. The debut ep won NME’s Radar ‘single of the week‘, with the remix version winning Touch Magazine’s ‘Alternative Single Of The Month.’ Now, following the fans rousing stamp of approval when ‘Hold That Gun’ topped Zane Lowe’s ‘Fresh Meat’ phone-in poll back in Feb 2005, it’s only fitting the band recently featured in NME‘s Smiths Anniversary issue talking of Manchester, “it pisses it down here, everyone gets depressed & gets inspired.”
Keith are also a band that thrive outside of the studio, with their much-lauded live shows. Now, following appearances at London’s TDK Cross Central Festival and France’s breakthrough Les Inrocktibles festival, they’re about to embark on 2 dates at Tokyo’s premier Summersonic event, to 50,000 accompanying the August release of their album in Japan. Indeed, former Smiths band members turned DJs, Andy Rourke and Mike Joyce were so impressed at a recent gig, they were heard to comment that their fellow Mancunian ingénues were “Manchester’s most exciting band”, with Andy citing ‘Mona Lisa’s Child’ as “the best song I’ve heard in years!”