Hailing from Glendalough via Rugby, England and back again, Kelleher, head of the band of the rotating name (His Cold Dead Hands was once the Sick Fucks and The Wet Dreams), dramatically emerged from his bedroom recently, pale, laptop in one hand and debut album in the other.
There’s so much in You Look Cold that you’d be excused for remarking that this young (24), unassuming fellow has artistic cahones of steel. Picture a laptop music-phile set loose in a dream world full of guitars, household noises (doors and hazelnut spread jars are two of the 32 instruments used here) Cubase, vintage Casio keyboards and tinny drum machines- and you’d be picturing the interior of Kelleher’s musical mind.
From his bedroom, Kelleher has woven a tangled musical web of all of the above (plus shrieks, howls, and clapping) into an atmospheric and hypnotising little beast of an album. The lo-fi ambition of the album’s collage approach is mind-boggling. As ingenious as a musical MacGyver using table salt and hair gel to blast his way out of a bind, Kelleher puts a sad medieval minstrel vocal over the glacial, kaleidoscopic electronics of -Coat To Wear’. Even more note worthy is that tracks like the tender acoustic -Wonder’, the Fleet Foxes-esque -I Am Eustace’, 60’s pop flavoured -Until I Get Paid’ and vicious 80s juggernaut -He Has to Sleep Sometime’ are on the same eclectic track listing.
It’s You Look Cold’s dual nature makes it work- vocal-centric tracks provide human elements while sprawling electro-psychedelic instrumentals put the robot in the album’s robot-with-a-heart effect. Tracks that work best tip the balance in favour of Kelleher’s gently aloof vocals, making for a more effecting listen. Either way, its introspective, quietly Leftfieldian qualities hold your attention for ransom even if persistent electro beats begin to jangle.
Perhaps because it was recorded in Kelleher’s bedroom, an air of gloomy intimacy hangs over proceedings. The point of You Look Cold is that it’s unafraid to experiment so as a result it’s far from perfect. But its diversity guarantees that it’ll be one of the oddest, most fascinating creatures the Irish music scene this year. A frosty listen indeed but there’s plenty for everyone to like here.