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Islands (Bonus Track Version)

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Customer Reviews

On Keegan DeWitt’s Islands, Most Impressions in Sentence Fragments:

One chord, an echo, a seductive opening, a trespass into another world, a nostalgic one, one in which loss and mourning collide continually with discovery and hopefulness. Crescendo here—strings, brass, tides, lullaby, harmonic emotional turbulence, not threatening, instead mesmerizing, like watching the sea dance before a storm. Then fading to— Alliteration of “…clutter cutting up our love,” and yet a sweetness despite the line itself. A sweetness in the confusion of the permanence, impermanence of this feeling that will so lamb-like follow DeWitt’s steps for the rest of the album. Then little do-dohs, as if they were sounds of happy children humming, optimistic still this message of love, even as it is tried with doubt. For several tracks then, a slipping toward the boundary between imagination and memory, the classicality of the compositions, the simplicity and sincerity of the songwriting wrapping the listener in some tenderly-made, well-worn patchwork quilt of longing, ebullience, innocent sensuality, idolatry, promise and poetry, the violin lifting itself skyward, playful; the rhythm beckoning, compelling a nearness; DeWitt’s calming lilt at once a prayer in hush and a smile swiftly flashed. While there’s undeniably a ubiquitous folk-pop quaint cuteness to all of this, there’s much more potently a heartbeat honesty. There’s less “culture” in the songs here than there is pure soul, a sliver glimpse of DeWitt’s enormously ambitious and creatively curious artistic spirit. Strung together so gracefully, the story of the lovers that emerges on "Islands" as a whole requests not only to be understood but to be lived. Indeed! One hopes that the breaths taken, heard only softly in the background of “Complicated,” are their own shallow and expectant breaths. One wishes that the lines about love, “If you need me to say it, I need you to say it” described a moment early on in one of their own relationships that blossomed and grew, perhaps only much later to shrink and hide away. It’s easy to be immersed by the album, unaware that the entire time, on that boundary between imagination and memory, that one is in fact immersed. Just as one fails continual consciousness of breathing, of neurons acting and reacting, of nervous habits, of the ticks and emotions and processes which in our daily lives define who were are, one fails continual consciousness that the songs here manage to endear themselves closely to the heart; it’s only as the album closes on the same powerful message with which it opened that the listener is transported back to a reality now much more beautiful and somehow sad than it seemed previously. The lens of perception alters—the sounds are more acute, the yearning more distinct, and yet the joy of all of that, the intense joy of the potential of love, it’s overwhelming. "Islands" ends in bonus track “Paris, France” with touching jocular sentiment and optimism. Here’s an image of a woman brushing her hair, calling her boyfriend in the States, believing that he needs and loves her, and here the image of the man who truly loves this woman, who wants her to see the world opening to meet her, who wants to prevent her heart from breaking. This image of the pain this man goes through as he stands out on the veranda, cigarette in hand, thinking of his mother’s understanding, his own wandering ways. This image of wanting to hold someone and protect them and not being able to, and yet, even here with this end, there’s a happiness, an uplifting, simple gratitude of just living with all of these emotions, living with memories that fade into ghosts and shadows and later memory’s illusions. Here then is the brilliance of "Islands": With all this apparent cause to be melancholy, there’s greater cause to be jovial. And, yes, as the album closes, one is. One is in an unspeakable way.


Beautiful. Really well done.


Born: April 8, 1982 in Bend, OR

Genre: Soundtrack

Years Active:

The folk music of Keegan DeWitt, a singer/songwriter who studied film composition in college, is orchestrated with all the sweeping, grand ornamentations of a movie score. DeWitt grew up in central Oregon, where he developed an interest in screenwriting and began making a series of short films with his friend Aaron Katz. When the two reached their upper teens, Katz headed to North Carolina to study directing at the North Carolina School of the Arts, while DeWitt enrolled at SUNY Purchase and relocated...
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