Adeiyu – Imaginary Chains (EP Review)


Lyrical Content
Lasting Value

Once in a while, if you roll up your sleeves and do some messy digging a few inches beneath the surface of the usual (and very predictable) web presence of our local music scene, you are bound to stumble upon a HUGE discovery . Yes, there are quite a number of musicians involved in very refreshing alternative forms of the art out there and churning out mind-blowing stuff. Consider this one such moment for Bottom Line Kenya. On our random trawls of the internets, we stumbled upon this group called Adeiyu, a group which simply describes itself as “Nox and Ayo. We make sounds.

They also describe the type of sounds they make as “alternative, acoustic fantasy folk” music. Sounds familiar? No? The only other readily-available extra information on Adeiyu is that they are the ones behind the sound that enhanced the taut and suspense filled mood of this popular Chico Leco fashion film. They also recently released a five-track EP called Imaginary Chains as a very quiet Bandcamp and SoundCloud release.

The brevity of information about Adeiyu, of course, creates a deceptive assumption that these guys also don’t have much to say musically. A quick listen to their EP disproves that assumption immediately and permanently. Well, what is the Imaginary Chains about? Here is the short version, according to Adeiyu:

A collection of songs written during an extremely long journey. I am, we are Adeiyu.

And the long-ish version:

I left my home 30 crescent-cycles ago, in search of the city of Kon-Jata. I have a long journey ahead of me and these are my songs.

Okay, it is a fantasy concept album (sort of ) with the central theme being a journey from something, through something and finally to something. The interpretation of what “something” could stand for is open to anyone’s interpretation, I guess. There is an overwhelming sense of sadness about these guys and their music. Even, the group’s name must be a play on “adieu”, the farewell phrase people use when embarking on long journeys, and the sadness related to that phrase.  

What is clear though is that Imaginary Chains  is basically filled to the brim with a plethora of emotions woven by the haunting combination between the instrumental sounds and the vocals.The smooth mostly piano-led sounds that glide effortlessly in and out of acoustic, R&B and folk styles are easily admitted by the ears, giving room for the vocals to work their magic on the listener. The vocals have the ability to sound both angelic and haunting at the same time, taking you to a very deeply emotional, wounded and conflicted place.

The lyrical content is also firmly rooted in that “happy sad” place. Adeiyu transport us from complete hopelessness in Hollow  to a bit of optimism sparked by the prospects of love in Crush and Fold and Over The Sea/Is This Really Love. Their very best  of this strange performance is capped off by the last track It’s Over Now which is also the shortest track in the EP at a little over two and a half minutes.

The thoughtful songwriting on this track is simply incredible and is delivered vocally in a way that not only torments you, but soothes you as well. You get the feeling that even that even if everything is wrong with the world at that moment, it will all be fine, somehow:  “I had a friend who loved to sing, fell in love with a man who took that voice away/I have a mother who’s tired, finding it hard to take a holiday…It’s over now, it’s over now/How I wish you never took a chance/It’s taking it’s toll now…”

Even at it’s very short duration of 18.5 minutes, Imaginary Chains is a serious trip in itself. Adeiyu’s music has a way of bringing back the most obscure memories and evoking the strangest emotions in a listener. That alone makes this album such a pleasure to listen to over and over, and especially when on a long journey too! However, this is not one of those albums full of pop jams composed of the kind of club-ready, twerk-worthy beats that resonates with everyone instantly. If you can listen to artists such as How To Dress Well, Sigur Rós, Bon Iver, James Blake or Daughter then this EP is definitely up your alley. Cop it immediately on Bandcamp and then hurry back to their SoundCloud page for more of their stuff.


Stumbling upon this album was certainly most refreshing. Imaginary Chains gives you an idea of what wounded angels would sound like – simply glorious. I hope there are more and more alternative groups exploring  with music like these guys are, and I hope we will find them soon so that they don’t just fizzle out without making a mark on this blog, if not the entire local music scene. The cream must rise to the top.