Artist vs Poet’s latest effort Keep Your Secrets is a light pop album that perhaps should have been released in early May, as it is ideal summertime music. The catchiest tracks “Ready to Roll,” “Keep Your Secrets,” and “Crazy About You” are practically made to sing along to with the windows rolled down. If the band’s previous acoustic EP Remember This was sentimental, Keep Your Secrets is a purely upbeat album with an “I don’t care” attitude.
“Ready to Roll” opens the EP and is perhaps the catchiest track of the eight. The song is positive and carefree with a sing-along chorus, strong bass line, and drums that will have you clapping along. Directly after is title track “Keep Your Secrets,” featuring slightly bitter lyrics against a fast-paced pop melody. Vocalist Joe Kirkland repeatedly shouts, “Stay the hell away,” in the chorus, making this track easy to get stuck in your head.
“Love to Hate Me” begins with simple chords and lyrics, making it seem less strong initially. However, on the verses, the familiar light and airy acoustic guitar makes an appearance and, paired with Kirkland’s snarky chorus, makes this song focus on the lyrics. This track embodies the carefree attitude emphasized throughout the EP.
“Ready or Not” starts off acoustically and seems at first like it would have fit better on Remember This. The song asks for forgiveness and promises reliability with lines like “I’ll be there for you/when your heart’s feeling heavy/I’ll be there for you/forgive me if you’re ready or not,” completely contrasting the preceding track lyrically. After the chorus picks up, the track starts feel more a part of Keep Your Secrets. “Ready or Not” remains a strong track lyrically and the acoustic guitar bookending the song gives the feeling that Artist vs Poet are at their strongest and most honest acoustically.
“Hang Around” picks up the pace in an easy-going sing-along track before going low, slow, and serious with “Miscommunicate.” This track seems almost out of place due to its completely different rhythm and sound. Using only piano and drums, it manages to show off Kirkland’s voice, but other tracks succeed at displaying the band’s musicianship where this one does not.
The EP takes another turn for the lighthearted with the penultimate track “Crazy About You.” Though the chorus comes off a little generic, the melody keeps the listener hooked through to the end. The nuances of Kirkland’s voice go well with an optimistic pop love song like this one, but as the last track “Stay Strong” proves, his vocals go best with an acoustic guitar and a meaningful verse. “Stay Strong” closes the EP with a genuine sound of sadness and hope combined. The last lines “They never thought they could be so close to hell/They never thought they could learn to love themselves” are sung simply but finish meaningfully, sure to leave the listener in shivers.
Overall, the EP is good for a light listen, and would be ideal for an upbeat summer soundtrack.
Keep Your Secrets is available on iTunes