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Tag: Rob Kelly

The Latest Offering from Man Called War – the Broken Circle EP

Rob Kelly

Rob Kelly

We previously introduced you to Man Called War back in March. Since then, this Boston-based band has relocated to Des Moines, Iowa. Why, we don’t know. What we do know is that they have released a new EP, titled Broken Circle. Once again, it’s a hushed, haunted and moody affair, with layers of mournful vocals taking center stage amidst a backdrop of acoustic strumming, soft strings, minimalist percussive beats and occasional whispers from beyond. Gothic graveyard folk at its finest.

“Ten tales I tell of myself
and the cradle I’m stepping out of.
One is the voices of passing strangers
saying terrible things in their cars.
One is a puppet that somebody untied
but still dances along with the strings.
One is a face someone poured from a bottle
to be young, to be beautiful again.

– Ten Tales

Geez, cheer up dude! Just kidding. It’s lovely. As singer-songwriter Rob Kelly describes it, Broken Circle is “a story about a man’s life and journey toward (and through) death. But I swear it’s not nearly as downbeat as that sounds.”

We’re happy to report that the EP ends on a decidedly upbeat note with “A Song For My Son,” and though bittersweet, it fades out with the words “I know I should live in salt for leaving you / but I am always with you / I am in the sun, I am in the moon / and I always love you.”

As you enjoy the wistful contemplation of Rob Kelly and Man Called War, he leaves you with this —

“And when, abruptly,
the god put his hand on her shoulder
and said with sorrow in his voice-
He has turned around-
she could not understand and asked softly- Who?”

– Rainer Maria Rilke (Orpheus. Eurydice. Hermes.)

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Introducing… Man Called War

This crossed my consciousness recently, quiet contemplations drifting by like daydreams, birds across a dreamy cloud-filled sky. Man Called War, brought into being by Boston-based singer-songwriter Rob Kelly, just released what appears to be their debut album, Naked Animals. This quietly compelling album centers around sometimes whispered, sometimes languid vocals and soft acoustic guitar, with touches of strings, other subtle instrumentation and mysterious spoken-word overlays that feel like the endless din of subconscious thoughts. It all creates a powerful hypnotic effect, like an aural black hole. These are contemplations about real-life situations with mythological metaphors and biblical overtones — modern tales through the gauzy perspective of folklore.

Man Called War cites influences as far-ranging as Gregory Alan Isakov, Frightened Rabbit, Nick Drake and The Avett Brothers. They previously released a 3-song demo in October of last year called The Eastern Seaboard Demo, so it seems to be quite early days yet. Looks like we’re off to a very nice start!

“Let your trembling tongue
form holy words.
Let his skin be a blank page
and write new scriptures.

Give up the ghost-
time don’t pay, she owes.”
– Ghost

I’ll leave you with Rob Kelly’s personal take on this auspicious debut — “The album is based off of something I heard once about life in your twenties, ‘I can never decide if I’m an absolutely awful person or the best person in the world.'”

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