Pittsburgh natives now based out of the Boston area, The Keymakers are two brothers, Rome Alexander and Rederic, who have made their presence felt in the modern music scene since first combining their talents in 2016. Spectra is the duo’s first extended release, running seven songs in all, and contains material that should figure into the duo’s live set for some time to come. They are playing live gigs with increasing frequency and a high quality release like this is the sort of move they need to propel them even further into the limelight. The Keymakers are arriving; they are not arriving, however, on the backs of facile fashion but, instead, brimming with soul and substance alike. They demonstrate the sort of close chemistry you would expect from two brothers, but their biological relationship isn’t the story here. It is the music and it tells a compelling story.

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Much of the album relies on electronic music forming the foundation of the individual cuts. “Home (Intro)” has some post-production effects manipulating the recording, but you can easily envision what this song sounds like shorn of its effects. The core songwriting is far stronger than any of the tinsel and decoration they later apply. Vocals are an uniform strength of the album and “Home (Intro)” introduces their gifts in that area. “Lonely” moves even further into the territory of electronic pop but The Keymakers are at home with this style without ever surrendering any of the songwriting substance. The longtime knock on electronic instruments that they are cold and unappealing doesn’t hold true here; The Keymakers use the style in a creative way and the electronics driving Spectra crackle

“The Light” leans heavily on its electronic arrangement but the same commitment to R&B influenced vocals continues guiding that facet of the duo’s performance. They bring hip-hop influences into play here, as well, but the contrast isn’t jarring or unwelcome. This track is light on its feet despite its often busy musicality. The first single from this release “California in the Sun” approximates the feeling of clear blue skies the dup wants to invoke and they do so in a highly musical way. The track develops with confidence and in a dramatic way without listeners ever feeling like the duo’s foot is too heavy on the gas pedal.

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“What You Wanted” highlights the talents of guest vocalist Cadence XYZ and her clear melodic singing gifts provide the album with a successful shift in tone. She shares the same obvious R&B influences the duo has and her voice proves to be a good fit for their electronic backing. The finale “Remember” demonstrates the duo have sharp instincts for constructing a track listing; there’s no other song as suited for the closing slot as this. The Keymakers’ Spectra is an impressive collection from these young performers and composers. It shows they are drawing from a deep well of creativity bringing the present and past together in an enchanting musical package and we can expect future releases to match or exceed its impact.

Sebastian Cole