Keegan Beck Callahan is an artist from Sycamore, Illinois who recently released What's Holding Me Back? It’s mostly him and his acoustic guitar. There are some decent moments here along with some things that don't work out as well.
The EP opens “Now If You'll Excuse Me I Have a Date with Density” which I’m not even sure I could call a song. It’s more like some kind of sound collage. At first he lightly strums chords together and howls to the moon. It kind of shifts from that to speaking unintelligibly into the microphone.
“Ceiling Leaks” is an actual song that really needed to be a lot louder in general. His vocals are barely above a whisper but this is also where he is strongest . It reminded me a bit of Xiu Xiu. Right before the two-minute mark the song makes a sudden change and scared the shit out of me. It's about 4 dbs louder and Callahan screams into the mic. He occasionally gets off-key as he strums his guitar with mounds of white noise.
“Highway Head” is the highlight. The song is pretty catchy and he sings within a good natural range for his voice. That being said the song just kind of drags from the last minute of so where there is no singing and just some guitar chords.
On “Happy Trail for a Happy Man” he drenches his vocals in reverb. He also strums a couple of chords while basically moaning into the mic microphone. There are some words in there but I really couldn’t hear much of what he was saying.
Callan says on his Bandcamp page “These are more like diary entries than songs and I am more neurotic than artistic at this point in my life.” The general feel of this EP is pretty bleak and the songs do give you a sense that he is trying to get a lot of things off his chest. One thing you can say about What’s Holding Me Back? Is its honesty.
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