Staying True: Keiino return with ‘Praying’
If there was one act that captured the hearts of Eurovision fans this year it was Norway’s Keiino. Their uplifting anthem ‘Spirit in the Sky’ swept in to win the televote segment of the contest ahead eventual winners Netherlands & Scandi-rivals Sweden, seeing the trio end their experience with a strong 6th place finish. Whilst many Eurovision bands disappear/disband the moment Eurovision season ends, Keiino seemed to have something special and it’s a relief to see them returning only one month later with ‘Praying’, but does it stand up to their mammoth debut?
It’s difficult to compare the two – whilst ‘Spirit in the Sky’ had a clear Eurovision focus, ‘Praying’ sets its sights on summer with its bubbling beat and yet another infectious hook. Alexandra’s vocal lines are stunning and grab you from the off whilst Tom compliments beautifully as he takes care of the bridge that introduces the first stripped-back chorus. A summer anthem this may be but the lyrics are certainly not throwaway – ‘my body feels so strong tonight, a chaos born in candlelight’ Alexandra sings in the second verse, one of many beautiful lines scattered throughout.
Ofcourse, one of the most unique and memorable aspects of Keiino that I’ve yet to mention is Fred’s joiking; I dispute anyone that refers to the inclusion of this Sami style of singing as a gimmick as Fred’s vocals instantly bring an emotive warmth to their electro tracks. Since Scandi-pop can often be criticised as pristine to the point of emotionless (see the negative undercurrent against recent Swedish entries at the song contest), the joiking pays homage to the cultures and traditions of the Sami people, certainly a unique cross-over for the world of pop and a beautiful way of uniting man and (drum) machine.
Keiino have come together to create something very special. As the Eurofans continue to lap up this new material, it will be exciting to see how the trio progress and expand their fanbase outside of contest loyalists. This uplifting material deserves an audience and these guys and gal have yet to put a foot wrong – unique concept, fantastic vocals and at the heart of it all – quality pop songs that prove these guys deserve to exist outside the world of Eurovision.