EP REVIEW: Keelan Mak – Test The Shallows

Learning to not be afraid of vulnerability, Keelan Mak’s debut EP ‘Test The Shallows’ is a deep dive into some of his most sacred emotions. Each track plays an important part in the ups and downs of a relationship that was filled with love, heartbreak and anger. After his partner moved overseas, he was left to pick up the pieces and to understand how he felt about everything. His way of dealing with that was to create this intimate EP full of groovy indie-pop beats and harmonies. 

Opening track ‘Daffodils’ sets the tone of the whole EP, with its moody indie-pop production layered with pulsating beats that lighten the mood. With confessional lyrics like “I’ve been stuck in my mind again” and “I’m dragging my heels” giving you those deep emotions of ultimate reflection, he questions why he feels like this. 

It then transitions into the radiating moody track ‘Warm Blooded’ that feels like the sonical love child of Cub Sport and Troye Sivan. He calls out his partner for constantly hurting him in this emotional tug of war as he attempts to hide behind exhausted excuses. “Lover why wont you let me be? Oh, can’t you see I’m falling?”. It has a very theatrical approach which makes it feel very consistent to every thing else he’s creating. 

‘Sleep Talker’ is the bonafide disco bop of the EP. Embracing the whole “crying when you dance” mantra, he contrasts two pop injected sounds perfectly together with a experimental garage house approach. Exploring the honest conversations he had with his partner late at night. Comparing them to sleep talking, he explains how their openness only happened once the lights were off and they were in bed together.

Debut single ‘Flicker’ was a track with a whole lot of potential. With it successfully breaking him through the triple j unearthed scene, the song is a track that deserves even more success. The moody synths that haunt the chorus are so hypnotising and addictive and perfectly transitions into title track ‘Test The Shallows’. 

Closing the EP with his most vulnerable moment yet, ‘Undecided’ is a highly emotional track with a lot of vocoder and self realisations. Throughout the whole EP he peels back more of his artistry and lays out his heavy and real emotions. 

Following a run of dates with Thomston, he’s embracing these songs into his live set and learning how to grow them even more. And after you listen to this EP in it’s entirety you will agree that Keelan Mak has a very promising career ahead of him.