Carol Keogh
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Carol Keogh

Dublin, Leinster, Ireland | SELF

Dublin, Leinster, Ireland | SELF
Band Alternative Singer/Songwriter


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Jerry Fish & The Mudbug Club ~ The Beautiful Untrue (The Mudbug Club)"

Six years is way beyond an eternity in Rock ‘n’ Roll, and yes, it has been that long since the release of Be Yourself. Just as well that Jerry Fish sups from a well that is sunk way beneath the topsoil of pop. Once he left the constraints of the four piece rock format, he found a whole universe of music suddenly become a tangible and touchable prospect: New Orleans Jazz, Brazilian funk, Noir soundtracks, all manner of odd mondo scenes and black mambo jive. An Emotional Fish used to cover Tom’s ‘Raindogs’, The Mudbug Club might reject it as too obvious.
On that note, the opening ‘The Hole In The Boat’ is a swampy seafood-fed shuffle with Ribot-like guitar and zombie cardship vocal from Mr. Fish. Jim Jarmusch would pawn his brothel creepers for the rights. Even more exotic is the single ‘Back To Before’, a delicate waltz around the ballroom of lost romance that’s stitched with singing saws, pedal steel and tinkertoy piano, while Fish’s latest dancing partner Carol Keogh contributes a truly remarkable turn somewhere between Patsy Cline and Mary Margaret O’Hara. One expects Lewis Carroll to pop his head through the curtains inquiring after a certain miss Liddell. Another duet, ‘Hell Or Heaven Sent’ featuring Imelda May, takes the form of a sweltering motel chronicle halfway between Howie Gelb and Barry Gifford, while ‘Rogue Melody’ is a slow C&W sway with Mariachi brass and a welcome reprise from Ms Keogh. Elsewhere on tunes like ‘It Takes Balls To Be A Butterfly’ (nice title), Mr. Fish swaggers in a Willy Deville way that suggests he really needs a Hollywood agent. The jury’s still out on whether his force of personality and the immaculate cut of the band compensate for the odd wanting song (time will tell how ‘Baby You Are In Or You’re Out’ wears with repeated plays.) but such misgivings are rare. The closing ‘Where The Sun Don’t Shine’ and instrumental closing tune deserve to accompany the end credits of some arthouse masterpiece. The Beautiful Untrue is one of those records that raises the cool in the room
without breaking a sweat. - Hot Press

"Autamata at Oxegen Festival 2004"

"We can still hear the drone of Goldie Lookin’ Chain coming from the main stage as we tramp across the field… and that’s when the first notes of Carol Keogh’s voice become audible, strong and buoyant and impossibly lovely, on the air, even this far away from the Green Room tent. (I should declare an interest right now: it will not be news to some Hot Press readers that I play cello and drums in Keogh’s other band, Tychonaut, so absolutely make of this report what you will.) Autamata’s songs are brainy, complicated, and fearsomely groovy. They’re also quite disparate, given Ken McHugh’s shifting co-songwriter arrangement: they range from stylish, hip-swinging post-hop (think Massive Attack with a sex life) on the one hand, as we are reminded by Sarah Verdon’s utterly mighty delivery today of ‘Jellyman’, to pristine, shiny, textured electro-pop with huge giddy-making wit and lightness of heart on the other. What also certainly doesn’t hurt is that in Carol Keogh, one of their two female vocalists, they have one of the most utterly arresting singers in Irish music. The precision and gutsiness and ease with which she launches her voice into the air during, say, ‘Out Of This’ makes you think of a violin virtuoso or a master conductor: it’s the sort of voice you find yourself following around in your head from moment to moment, and she makes really complicated and beautiful shifts and phrases look and sound easy. That said, ‘Jive County’, delivered by Ken McHugh himself, was a set highlight: we forgot what an absolutely lovely and tuneful electronic quirk-pop classic it is. With his own warm, boyish tones leading the way, it had a delightful plasticky freshness, like a brand-new toy at Christmas."

Kim Porcelli - Hot Press

"Autamata: Out of This single review"

"There are many who subscribe to the school of thought that Carol Keogh could sing anything and make it sound like a gift from the gods. That’s probably true so the effect when she’s given a song as gorgeous as this is totally spellbinding. Ken McHugh certainly knows how to build an elegant wall of sound but this is very much Keogh’s record, one that easily stands alongside her finest moments with Tychonaut."

Phil Udell - Hot Press

"Autamata at TBMC, Dublin, 2003"

"Sometimes, it’s nice to have your expectations confounded. Only passingly familiar with the Autamata oeuvre beforehand, I arrived at TBMC with a fixed view of what was in store – specifically another studio-oriented outfit offering a worthy but ultimately dull attempt at translating their record into a live setting – and instead bore witness to one of the best gigs I’ve seen in quite some time.

Ken McHugh has transposed his debut album, My Sanctuary, from disc to stage with flair and imagination. With the truly spellbinding vocals of The Tycho Brahe’s Carol Keogh captivating the audience from the off, the surprisingly formal guitar/bass/drums/keyboards line-up masterfully wove a supremely atmospheric, hypnotic wall of sound. The background visuals, meanwhile, were perfectly in sync with the music’s spooky brilliance – slow tracks through space, flowers coming into bloom, reversed footage of collapsing buildings.

Not that this was by any means an exclusively, low-key, downtempo affair – the band kick out the jams with the rendition of the first My Sanctuary single, ‘Jive County’, which metamorphoses from its earlier lo-fi, electro incarnation into something of a bass- heavy, funk opus. Taking the rudiments of the post-rock template and adding the visceral, emotional wallop of Aphex Twin or Mogwai, Autamata have even at this early stage rocketed to the forefront of the Dublin independent scene. Mightily impressive.

Paul Nolan - Hot Press

"This Is: The Tycho Brahe album review"

The Tycho Brahe - This Is The Tycho Brahe
Konstantin - 2002 - 45 minutes

These days it's not often you'll lament an album for being too short, but that's a sigh you'll breathe time and time again with this one.

The name chosen by former Plague Monkeys duo Carol Keogh and Donal O'Mahony and Jimmy Cake man Diarmuid Mac Diarmada for their debut album – that of a Danish astronomer - is wilfully obscure, the tracks on it are anything but.

While Keogh's vocals are unmistakable there's a level of fooling around here which was never part of the Plague Monkeys. It's an album that's both playful ('Hooga Chakka' 'Listless') and serious ('Your House From Mine', 'Unplanned') and has the intimacy big bands waste even bigger cheques trying to capture. There's no set sound or pieces and you get the feeling that this band can steer itself any way and with anyone its trio so desire.

Definitely one to listen to and see stars. - RTE ACE

"The Tycho Brahe: Love Life album review"

The Tycho Brahe
Love Life
(Konstantin Records)

"Recklessly experimental"“Why do we automatically sink to fighting the uncontrollable things/When we could just pack up our belongings and go?�

That’s the first question The Tycho Brahe put to the jury on ‘Steel Wheels’, the breezily propulsive opening tune on their second album, and while this writer has no answer, I do have another query: “Why is it we feel compelled to chase only the ones who run away?� The vile Viconte de Valmont purred in Dangerous Liaisons, to which arch ice-bitch the Marquise de Merteuil snapped back “Immaturity.� When it comes to pop’s groaning banquet, we all turn into little Neros demanding finer wines and shinier baubles.

A couple of years ago I interviewed Carol Keogh and listened intently to what she had to say about keeping things small and beautiful, stressing music over personality. I rubbed my chin and reviewed the tape and scarcely agreed with a word she said. But… a fundamental difference in doctrines doesn’t preclude a reconciliation with the music. I like The Tycho Brahe a lot, plus, putting out a double album on no budget is ostentatious to the point of Wildean.

But is it vanity publishing?

No. Love Life is perfectly realised within its own parameters. The Tycho Brahe, more than any band operating out of this country, sound like no one so much as themselves. Obvious reference points are damn near impossible – I might resort to something like “mid-period Kate Bush fronting some lost 4AD band�, with the caveat that it be that label’s Les Mysteres des Voix Bulgares as much as This Mortal Coil.

Their sound is polyphonic but also polyrhythmic; the pizzicato pluckings of ‘Imprint’ combine with scattershot snare drum and high drama strings to make a sound that is genuinely cinematic as opposed to simply aping treasured film scores.

When a line like “We have only love, only love/Hold onto it�, cuts through the mix you have to savour the raw emotion invested in it. Moments like these strike the partial listener in a way that the more esoteric stuff can’t.

If Carol Keogh ever quits music, her recitation of ‘The Sun King’ should score her a regular gig on children’s television Storytime slots – provided the little tykes are whacked out on ’shrooms. - Hot Press

"The Tycho Brahe: Love Life album review"

The Tycho Brahe - Love Life
Konstantin Records - 2003 - 76 minutes

"Recklessly experimental"Surprising and delighting many upon its release last year, The Tycho Brahe's debut album 'This Is' found few detractors. At a push, the most frustrating aspect of the album was its relatively short running time, a criticism that cannot be levelled at 'Love Life'.

Apparently the first ever studio recorded double album by an Irish band, 'Love Life' certainly does not aim low. The Tycho Brahe seem to relish the opportunity to tear into as many styles and weird noises as they can. There are a few slip-ups along the way mind you, but overall they come away with an aggregate victory over the two legs of the album.

The music laid down by Diarmuid MacDiarmada and Donal O'Mahony is endlessly inventive, and provides a suitably complex backing to one of the most listenable voices in music. Carol Keogh's voice runs through the fabric of this record, displaying the same pop sensibilities from her days with the Plague Monkeys, but here interwoven with an ever-growing array of instruments and sounds that sets this band apart from their Irish contemporaries.

It's possible to sing along to tracks such as 'Steel Wheels' or 'Golden Wedding', yet these sit side by side with long instrumentals or strange interludes like 'The Sun King'. The net is cast so wide that something here must catch your attention.

With a sound this recklessly experimental it's hard to say which avenues shouldn't be explored. Above all else, the Tycho Brahe's music has the element of surprise, and it is hard to place a value on that. - RTE ACE

"The Tycho Brahe: Lucky the Bee single review"

The Tycho Brahe
Lucky The Bee
(Konstantin Records)

Woah – this threw us a curve. ‘Lucky The Bee’ is up-beat, compact, economic and (whisper it) catchy, with Carol Keogh wrapping her comely tonsils and artful words around the Tycho’s poppiest tune, embellished with quite delightful keyboard textures and white funk lite guitar. If the TB keep moving in this direction, they’re gonna end up the victims of daytime radio play. - Hot Press

"Autamata ACL live review"

Ireland's Autamata animates ACL
Friday, 26 September 2008

Ken McHugh, Autamata’s producer/instrumentalist, opened his show with the words, “The festival starts now!�

Autamata, hailing from Ireland, was one of the first bands to start rocking the festival on Friday, Sept. 26. The band’s set began at noon, just after the “Star Wars� theme song marked the weekend’s kick-off.

After soaking up the electro/pop songs the band put forth for our enjoyment, such as “I Spy� and “Jellyman,� 210SA made plans to catch up with the group later in the sweaty Austin afternoon. - 210SA

"The Plague Monkeys: Album review"

Hot Press - October 27 1999

The Plague Monkeys
The Sunburn Index
(Crosstown Music)

BEWARE A rush to judgement on any Plague Monkeys recording – here be sleepers. Last year’s debut Surface Tension pleasantly perturbed this candidate on the first to fourth helpings, but by the dozenth dose I was figuring it for a minor classic. Even now, it still yields sheathed details, peculiar possibilities.

So, your reporter approached The Sunburn Index with both relish and caution, although any fears of the quartet grafting a big ugly fuck-off backbeat or radio-friendly sheen onto the sound are almost instantly dispelled – all loops remain self-generated, all samples plucked from their own manuscripts rather than public libraries.

Again, it’s the invisible ink encoded in the sound that works its way into the listener’s bloodstream, tattooing the brain many hours later. And, as you may have deduced from the titles, the lyrics continue to probe the sciences, and indeed the virus of language itself (“What Americans call ‘closure’�) in the quest for a dialect new to rock ’n’ roll.

The band’s vocal point is of course Carol Keogh, a spellbinding warbler who has inherited Mary Margaret O’Hara and the Buckleys’ knack of springing words loose from meaning. Throughout this collection, Keogh performs all manner of tonsil somersaults while remaining firmly integrated into a band who know just how tightly to boa-constrict her throat. Donal O’Mahony is particularly adept at framing the melodies with a succession of electric/acoustic backdrops (indeed, he gets downright industrial during the penny-dreadful peekshow of ‘Over’), while on ‘Sea Change (Part 2)’ Barry Roden and Thomas Haugh – surely one of the more underrated and imaginative rhythm sections in the parish – shape-shift like salamanders, performing acts of enviable sonic contortion.

I have one or two faint misgivings – considering the magic these Monkeys are capable of working with conventional song structure (‘Bloomsday’) one sometimes gets frustrated by their adherence to initially opaque surfaces. In other words, I don’t hear a single. And occasionally there are hints of late 80s student ghetto-ism – Throwing Muses, The Cocteau Twins et al – which you suspect mask a latent ability to get as crossed-over as Bjork or Kate Bush.

But then again, they’re also chasing some pretty spectacular comets, particularly the geisha shapes of ‘Polar Magnets Parts 1 & 2’, the monolithic ‘Sea Change’ and the darkly charming ‘Last Bus’.

So, to sum up, The Sunburn Index is the confident second stage in a fluent evolution. And even the pyramids were built in incremental steps.

Peter Murphy
Rating: 9 / 12 - Hot Press


Pending releases include:
Mongrel City (debut solo album)
Attenborough: The Natural History Museum

Releases from previous projects include:

Colours of Sound: Autamata (2008)
Short Stories: Autamata (2006)
Love Life: The Tycho Brahe (2004)
This Is: The Tycho Brahe (2003)
My Sanctuary: Autamata (2003)
The Sunburn Index: The Plague Monkeys (1999)
Surface Tension: The Plague Monkeys (1997)

Other collaborations and contributions:
Year of the Husband: The Dudley Corporation (2008)
In Love With: The Dudley Corporation (2003)
Colour Me Colourful: Roesy (2006)
We're Smiling: Ann Scott (2006)



It's the voice that immediately grasps the attention: capable of great aesthetic and emotional leaps even in the breadth of one sung sentence - ferocious and tender, cool and abandoned, piano and forte. But there's also the quality of songwriting; acute observations shot through with lyrical poesy, a kind of honest magic.

Carol Keogh has been writing songs and recording them since Low Babies! No, not junior infants (or 'low babies' as it is often colloquially referred to in Ireland) - Low Babies was the precursor to The Plague Monkeys who, over the course of two albums and two EPs spanning a five year career, gave the world songs like Star Country, Safe and Sea Change: songs of dreams and passion with a twist of mystery.

A two-year hiatus ensued between the demise of The Plague Monkeys and the formation of The Tycho Brahe with fellow former bandmate Donal O'Mahony. But this is not a gap in Keogh's curriculum vitae. During this time, she began collaborating with producer Ken McHugh on his electro-pop project, Autamata. Keogh remains an important part of the Autamata line-up, having co-written and sung 15 tracks across the three albums to date.

The Tycho Brahe disbanded in 2006 but left the world with two excellent albums, including the sprawling, musically ambitious and eccentrically brilliant double-album Love Life.

Keogh has availed of opportunities to work in diverse environments with different collaborators and this has strengthened and sharpened her songwriting skills down the years. While working with both Tychos and Autamata, Keogh engaged on a new project with maverick electronic composer, Dunk Murphy (AKA Sunken Foal). This project, which came to be known as The Natural History Museum, has developed a unique sound, a mix of the programmed and the played, the minimal and the arcane, screams and whispers, the mad and the sane. Debut album Attenborough is set for release later this year.

Now, at long last, Keogh has embarked on a solo project. Not entirely alone though - she has assembled some fine musicians to accompany her and together they are making a beautiful noise. Keogh and band are currently recording her debut solo album - working title, Mongrel City. A release is expected mid-2011.