The Hang of Music: Turn Tail and Try Again

I have to say this up front. I did not like the Young Knives. I thought they were weird looking and sounding, and their songs just bizarre. To be fair, though, they are.

However, my dad spoke really highly of their first album, “Voices of Animals and Men”, and last year, 4 years after it’s release, I gave them another go. And obviously, as I’m now reviewing album number two, I was pleasantly surprised.

The other key point is that last Saturday, they played at the local Godiva festival, and damn good. I was reminded “Hey, don’t they have another album I haven’t heard?” They do.

Welcome to “Superabundance”!

And I already have a crucial question for you, Young Knives: where the hell do you get your track titles from? Because from listening to your album, I have to say that your method seems to be to find the line in the chorus that makes least sense compared to the lyrics of the rest of the song, repeat it, and then stick it on the back cover of your album.

Finding the weirdest lyric in any given song of theirs is itself no mean feat. Some of my favourite extracts;

“It seems like mother nature’s got herself a whore/with a disregard for health and safety”

“Terra Firma”

“You guys would fight to Kate Bush!”

Talking to the crowd at Godiva Festival

“And it still stands/that you are the light switch”

“Light Switch”

“I had to hold you hold you in a headlock/I had to force you into wedlock/that’s how I am”

“Dyed In The Wool”

I don’t know about you, but very few contexts could make those lines make sense. Ever.

I sometimes think that Henry, Oliver and the House of Lords* are specifically trying to weird people out, with titles and lyrics that seem to make no sense – “Love My Name”, their new single, is a prime goddamn example – wearing tweed suits, and naming their bassist after one of the keystones of the English legal system.

Hey, their wiki states they started off as a Ned’s Atomic Dustbin covers band: maybe that will shed some light on… where did that dramatic middle eight come from? Anyway, Ned’s Atomic…Oh, it’s gone back to normal again. Ah well.

For the record: no, Ned’s Atomic Dustbin doesn’t help. At all.

After the first three songs, I heard Up All Night, and I thought: right, I’ve got their genre pegged, because this sounds like it could be a The Rakes cover**, and The Rakes are one of the bands that I would define as epitomising “Indie” music.*** Compare these two songs.

Anyway, they didn’t make it easy for me, but I’m sticking with that genre classification. Damn decisiveness!

I was worried, while I was listening to this, that none of the songs were going to stand out but the singles, i.e. the ones I’d heard before. It turned out OK, though, because it turns out the last track, “Current of the River” is damn good. That I have to worry about this, though, makes me wonder if this album is suited for this type of review. I really think this’d sound better for another listen or two.

Hopefully not this many listens, though.

* Yep, those are their names.

** If they’d been listening to a lot of Futureheads recently.

*** The world’s laziest genre name, I might add: most bands start off as indie, in that they are signed to an independent label, and then maybe change to a non indie label.


Posted on July 7, 2011, in Music, The Hang of Music and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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