Review Summary: Confident, creative, raw but overall a fun effort from the Young Knives
Post punk revival was pretty big in the 2000's. A huge number of artists decided it was time to don their skinny ties, white belts and shag haircuts, and with guitar in hand, take music to a more "back to basics" sound. Bands were constantly emerging with this new trend, and although most of them would go on to break up, a good handful are still enjoying success even today. The Strokes, and the Yeah Yeah Yeah's came bursting out of the New York scene whilst bands like The White Stripes and the Von Bondies erupted from the Detroit rock scene. The Arctic Monkeys were flying the flag for Britain as well. Even Sweden wanted a go, backed by their own very stylish Indie-rock band, The Hives. The escalation was a very abrupt but effective trend in music.
It was no surprise then that lots of bands became overshadowed by the behemoths of the genre. English band, The Young Knives being a pretty fine example of this. Although enjoying a humble career in music, like playing local festivals and recording 4 great albums, they would never go on to play colossal sized arenas like the bands mentioned earlier.
That doesn't go to say that The Young Knives create bad music though. In fact upon first listen, their music sounds very unique when compared to other bands of the same genre. It is unmistakably punky and raw, but there seems to be a sprinkle of silliness going on. Combining this with The Young Knives' slightly overweight, tweed clad appearance and thick spectacles makes it all the more humorous. No joke, they look like they've strolled straight of a golf course. But it's this kind of humbleness and fun that all kinds of bands should have right?
The Young Knives...Are Dead was the first release from the band, and was comprised of 7 tracks, which is considered to be a mini-album. After their first LP: Voices of animals and men, they released an EP called Rollerskater which consisted of 3 tracks. This resulted in a reissue of The Young Knives...Are Dead and their Rollerskater EP combined to make this: The Young Knives...Are Dead...And Some.
The Young Knives:
Henry Dartnell - Lead/backing vocals, guitar
Thomas "The House Of Lords" Dartnell - Lead/backing vocals, bass
Oliver Askew - Backing vocals, drums
"Walking on the Autobahn" opens the album with a treble soaked guitar lead which is eventually met by fast paced drums and an alternative bass line, which is a very nice feature, seeing as most indie bands would just double up a guitar line with the same played on the bass. But The Young Knives are quite creative when it comes to playing catchy indie licks and are always utilizing different riffs with their instruments. The vocals then enter and a very unique listening experience ensues. Whilst the singing is very clean and easy on the ears, aggression often enters the microphone and the singing turns into "Yelps" and "Shrieks" which may or may not be intended to cause humor. By track 4 "Night of the Trees" it is pretty clear that they are defiantly not taking themselves seriously, due to the songs very silly chorus. It would probably hit most people as something they've never encountered anything like before. The chorus features a wobbly bass line in a diminished key with screams of pain in the background, whilst the singer yelps "Night Of The Trees" in an absurdly high English voice whilst strumming a D major chord. This shouldn't work at all but there is something charming about their music and overall very very cool.
Drummer Oliver Askew seems to not want to stray away from the same drum beat for the fist 6 tracks, which implies that the band were using a comfort zone in their early days. "St Petersburg Wedding" serves as a nice change from the rest of the album though as it's a quiet acoustic piece with soothing vocals but apart from that there isn't much differentiation between the overall structures of the songs. Perhaps a bit more experimentation would have helped the album move along a bit.
This doesn't effect the overall quality of the songs though. The riffs are infectious and the drums fast and lively but not too "In your face" as other drummers go. The vocals are fun but with a huge punk feel to them. The Young Knives have created something very unique here and although a lot rawer than their other records, it defiantly developed towards their sound on their first LP.
Walking on the Autobahn
Night of the Trees
So Sue Me