Chief Keegan: The Piles High Club

Dublin-based band knocks out tight, dynamic funk inspired by such as Vulfpeck, The Meters, Lettuce and Galactic


Most debut albums contain the inevitable dead spots and filler tracks. You will listen in vain for those on this terrific release from innovative Irish soul band Chief Keegan.

The band has it all: a relentless rhythm section, funky guitar riffs and driving keyboards from Luke Dunford. Across 11 tracks penned by members of the band, they deliver a sound that combines the best of retro organ blues and soul with a contemporary freshness that makes it sound like they have been playing together for years. It is the completeness and tightness of the sound that really impresses for a debut release.

There is variety here too, with guest performances from the likes of Melia and Big Sam to bring some different sound textures and moods to the mix. Waking Up To The Light, with vocals by Richard Farrell, is a lovely, soulful ballad very much in the style of Ray Charles. It works a treat and is completely at home amongst the funkier keyboard-led tracks that span the album. Cornhub features an extended, dreamy solo by Dunford, very much in the style of Kait Dunton.

Hailing from Dublin, Chief Keegan cite several influences on their music, including bands such as Vulfpeck, The Meters, Lettuce and Galactic. I have not heard of any of those, but on this album you will hear some irresistibly funky performances from a band bursting with ideas, energy and tremendous talent. This is one the finest albums of 2024 so far, and Chief Keegan are certainly going places based on this. I can’t wait to hear more from them.

Crocs ’n’ Jocks; Creamy Screamers; Payload; Interlude 1; Love Pudding; Frosty Nips; Nippleback; Interlude 2; Waking Up To The Light; Cornhub; Shallow Gander (43.26)
Luke Dunford (org, p, kyb); Mark Dudley, Eddie Roberts (g); Alan Elliott (b); Cian Hanley, Tommy Cray (d); Big Sam (tb); Eddie Barbash (ts); Melia, Richard Farrell (v). Dublin, no date given.
Singular Records