Carol Keogh

Carol Keogh

 Dublin, Leinster, IRL

It's mostly about the songs but also a bit about a great band, a golden voice, and an obsessive lyrical urge to express home truths in a different way. Melodic, insightful, poetic, courageously honest, all 256 shades of grey, delight taken in the mundane and the search for the devil in the details


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.


Into the Blue

Written By: Carol Keogh

I can still feel the squeeze
Of being down there on my knees
But swimming is easy
It's just the descent
And the fear of staying
I want to move, anywhere
I always feel like coming up for air

Into the blue
And diving down with you
The science external
I cannot control
With the weight of water
If you can't hold onto me
I have to let you go where I can't see

Fifteen metres low
Where the cold becomes a world
And the beating in my chest is universal
We are tissue filled with air
We are swine above the pearl
And the simple feat of breath is everything

Swimming is easy
It's just the descent
And the pain of knowing
Life is rich, life is rare
And I always feel like coming up for air

London Song

Written By: Carol Keogh

Who do I thank for my narrow feet?
Bruised and fragile on London streets
The bargain queen with her walking tools
Greedy green eye on a vintage shoe
Drew a stall-holder's envy too

Crowds of others on the underground
To the history museum's lost and found
William Morris and a sculpted gate
The craft of nature in every day
Beauty comes in rushes and hides away

Down Exhibition Road

You look like you caught the sun
Beam in my heart

Kensington High Street on an afternoon
Second-hand beat and first-hand tune
The Prince and Cinders at the champagne course
Ugly sisters, pantomime horse
Pearly buttons in uniforms

Down Exhibition Road

You look like you caught the sun

My Father the Jeweller

Written By: Carol Keogh

My Father the Jeweller

My father is a jeweller
He makes rings
And if I ask him, what does a ring mean?
He cannot tell me
Because a band of gold does not make you whole
And it will not keep you with me

My mother gave her life's blood for all of us
And if I ask her, what did you do that for?
She will tell me that a band of gold
Is all that holds life and soul together

I am never alone because I have them with me
Flesh and bone
Everything I would not be or would be
And I only see
I only see love

Hold them fast
Make it last

And then the swallows came
Sad swallows with wet wings
And the endless rain that washed through every ring
When your heart closed down
Did it lock me out or in?
I know you can't give me anythiing
You can't give me

Hold them fast
Make it last

Hold onto it


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)

Set List

The Relics of Saint Valentine
Austin City Limits
London Song
Woman and Girl
Heartsick and Hopeful
My Father the Jeweller
Into the Blue
A Place With Real Seasons
Grand Parade
The Comb

(approx. 1 hour)