Album Review: A Year To Forget But A Christmas To Remember // Keywest

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There is no doubt that this year has been difficult for all of us and a Christmas without our loved ones is definitely not what we need. However, Keywest are bringing a silver lining to the festive season with their new Christmas album A Year To Forget But A Christmas To Remember.

Keywest is an Irish band that has gained most of their following by playing on streets across the UK and Ireland – just like U2 did to gain their fame. Although being multi-award-winning and multi-platinum selling band, they decided to remain independent and set up their own label as they wanted to ‘continue to develop and hone their performance and sound’. They are now considered Ireland’s biggest independent act.

After the critical acclaim of An Acoustic Christmas, their EP from a few years ago, fans were hoping for a release on a similar scale. Despite fears that the album might be indistinguishable from their previous Christmas tracks, the bands new music appears to have been widely enjoyed online.

The album opens with the only original song on the release, ‘It Won’t Be Christmas Without You’. Although having a similar tone to their earlier single, ‘This Is Heartbreak’, you can still hear the Christmassy twinkle of piano. The lyrics could be the official anthem for this month – it perfectly expresses the feeling of not being able to spend Christmas with those we love. An extremely relatable topic which will no doubt touch listeners on a deeper level than usual.

The album includes every single song that you would want on a Christmas album – but with a Keywest touch. These include a ballad version of ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’ and an indie-folk cover of ‘Driving Home For Christmas’. Although the latter still has the same iconic piano beat, the Keywest indie-folk touch has added their signature twist.

Crucially, their modernised cover of ‘Hallelujah ‘ is what really took this album to the next level. The vulnerability in the voice of the lead singer, Andrew Kavanagh, perfectly matches the sombre tone of the song. Since this is such an iconic and well-known track, trying to modernise it and making it your own can be a daring thing to do. Instead, they have managed to personalise the piece with the minor details, such as the licks of electric guitar and bumbling bass.

It’s safe to say that A Year To Forget But A Christmas To Remember is the perfect new addition to any Christmas playlist. Whether you prefer the classics or the more modern songs, this album has something for everyone to enjoy.

A Year To Forget But A Christmas To Remember is now available to stream on all major platforms.

Words by Alice Sjöberg.


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