After five or six spins, something dawns on you about ‘Black And White’, the latest offering from Cardiff heroes Keys… It’s an absolutely PERFECT montage song.
It’s the sort of tune that would provide an awesome accompaniment to a series of vignettes in any Rocky movie… and could that be any more fitting for Keys? After an early one-two knockout during their Too Pure years (both Songs of Ignorance in their original late 90s guise Murry The Hump, and their own self titled debut both being absolutely stunning records) Math Evans, Gwion Reynolds and company seemed to drop off the radar a little.
It wasn’t that they couldn’t fight anymore – Heck, they continued to release a series of spectacular albums and EPs that most groups would take a thousand smacks in the chops to achieve – but they never seemed to get their shot at the champion’s belt they deserved so much. Sure, a class Welsh hero is something to be… but they deserved that shot.
Now – some 20 years on from their debut – ‘Black and White’ is where the story changes. A brief Hefner-like downward guitar strum breaks into a spacious blues-punk riff and drum groove. As the song progresses you can practically see the band in training… doing laps around The Senedd, pull-ups on the Welsh National War Memorial and shimmying up the pole to capture the Cardiff Castle flag. Then, at 2.39 it all kicks off. Swirling lead and distorted guitars bring to mind the moment when they reach the top of steps, punching the air in victory. They know how good they are. They know how good this is. They know they’re going to deliver that knockout punch.
For any fighter, the chance to become champ is only ever one fight away and no doubt about it, Keys have been back in training and this time they’re going to win that belt.
Review by Peter Richard Adams