Fear is a topical lyrical theme considering we’ve spent the past 15 months in forced solitude. Our faces hidden behind masks as people duck and cover whenever someone coughs in public. With Covid, the debacle of the US election and a wealth of conspiracy theories to choose from the pervasive cultural anxiety has heightened everyone’s fight or flight response. It’s refreshing to hear the Irish duo of Patrick O’Keefe and David Ruth who compose Graham Davy rebuke this base human response in their succinctly titled new song “Fear”.
Graham Davy could be the band playing at The Roadhouse at the end of a Twin Peaks episode—a musical resolve to a story segment as Killer Bob lurks in the dark Northwestern forest and haunts our dreams. Like David Lynch, O’Keefe and Ruth understand the magnitude of fear’s corrosive thread and how it’s woven through our lives. They present a simple answer and this song’s strength is its beautiful simplicity. The drums hit on the backbeat under strummed reverberating chords and the choruses break into a gratifying wall of sound. Like a melodic Michael Gira singing for a Lynchian version of The Shangrilahs Patrick O’Keefe’s deep penetrating voice resonates and sooths our collective dread as he reminds us of fear’s impermanence.
There’s a spiritual quality to Fear and with O’Keefe’s confident delivery it can be heard as a prayer or a sermon. The song steadily gathers momentum and intention like the brilliance of a Beltane fire burning away the psychic shadows that obscure our souls from the light of beauty. As the world emerges from its isolation O’Keefe and Ruth have given us a gift—a needed call of faith to counter our lingering existential distress.