Review Summary: It's important to like what you love.
It’s easy to reminisce upon days you never lived. To look back upon the memories you never experience, and even tell stories of the life you never lived. I know I’m guilty of it, aren’t we all? And while I’m far from a habitual liar, I like to think I was a child of 90’s emo music. I’m not, at all. I feel a much stronger affinity towards those emotional 90’s masterpieces In the Aeroplane Over The Sea
than I do towards Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Superunknown
, or the grunge movement. Needless to say, as much as I wish it weren’t the case, I was a giddy child meeting the Backstreet Boys (Yes, I met them; and this is a judgement-free-zone, right?) while Knapsack was busy releasing a seminole record in third-wave emo music. A testament to the powers of emotional lyrics and parallel guitars driving a record forward rather than louder, more abrasive instrumentation, This Conversation Is Ending Starting Now
is a too beautiful record to be overlooked as often as it is.
Highly melodic, This Conversation Is Ending Starting Now
is Knapsack’s third and final record. The pinnacle of their short-lived career, the record is highly melodic, as the hypnotizing guitar riffs are the main draw of the record. Each song is sounds fresh as can be, even after we’re opening it up from the vault over a decade later. “Katherine The Grateful” is a romping, fast-paced example of this quality on full display. The percussion often follows suit (“Arrows To The Action,” doubles as a catchy single and a furious display of subtle percussion), as it manages to go from the forefront of the performance to a softer backbone to lean on in the blink of an eye. Everything from the bass to the guitar to the drum is very tight and well-produced, as is expected from a producer such as Drive Like Jehu drummer Mark Trompino, the indie-rock is fitting and cohesive. The aspect that surely set Knapsack apart, though, is Blair Shehan’s vocals. You may have heard his later work as vocalist on The Jealous Sound, but nowhere else do his whispery screams feel so at home as they do one This Conversation Is Ending Starting Now
. Emotional and heartfelt, his voice is what sets apart Knapsack from both contemporaries or predecessors. It’s certainly not the most talented voice in the world, but the raw yet crystal clear style is what my personal affinity for Knapsack revolves around. His whispers that abruptly erupt into all-out screams are an enticing burst of energy that prompt the listener to join in, and the lack of pretension or cliche in the lyrics (I mean seriously: read that damn title, not too clever, but clever enough) make you believe in what you’re singing, too.
Yes, it’s been done before in more exciting and groundbreaking fashion. To be honest Knapsack doesn’t offer a whole lot new to the palate of the emo aficionado, but it does something more than that: it makes you like it. This Conversation Is Ending Starting Now
is a record that’s an incredibly catchy, likable version of an experience most people shove aside as daunting, and Knapsack at its best is an experience to cherish within itself.