The Paper Chase - Hide the Kitchen Knives (Cover Artwork)

The Paper Chase

The Paper Chase: Hide the Kitchen KnivesHide the Kitchen Knives (2002)

Reviewer Rating: 4
User Rating:

Contributed by: relay1112relay1112
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Rating: 8.0 Picture this: you're in an abandoned industrial plant, watching horses being slaughtered, their assorted parts reassembled into new and horrible creatures, only to watch them creep, crawl and limp towards you as they come off the assembly line; you're helpless and alone, no, wait, exc.

Rating: 8.0

Picture this: you're in an abandoned industrial plant, watching horses being slaughtered, their assorted parts reassembled into new and horrible creatures, only to watch them creep, crawl and limp towards you as they come off the assembly line; you're helpless and alone, no, wait, except for that fire-breathing, knife-wielding foreman bent on making you pay for trespassing on his experiment, and just when you thought it couldn't get any worse, a plane crashes into a bus crashes into a wheel barrow, and even while faced with all of this incredible danger of a quick yet terrifying death, the wheel barrow crashes into your leg and you bleed to death slowly, with all the horse-creatures and butchers and planes and buses laughing at you from the fringes of your consciousness; of all things threatening, you were killed by a fucking WHEEL BARROW! Did you picture it? Good. Singer John Congleton of the Paper Chase dreams this death every night, and that sort of emotional experience parallels the music he writes.

Hide the Kitchen Knives brings you 48 minutes closer to suicide. We usually think of music as something we enjoy, something to provide us with entertainment. Well if listening to horses being killed by priests stabbing a pole through their throats in a ritual sacrificial ceremony (of which Congleton has so kindly provided us a sound clip) is your idea of entertainment, I hope I never meet you. Ever. The Paper Chase cuts their music into your wrists in a bathtub full of electrical equipment. They're that brutal. What hundreds of melodramatic hardcore bands try to achieve with overdrive and growling, John Congleton does with one gurgling, wavering phrase.

I'd call it a concept album, except I don?t want to think about whatever concept Congleton had in mind when he wrote this stuff. The instruments are static throughout; the drums and bass are always deep and industrial-sounding while the guitars use largely the same distortion (to terrifying effect). To increase the album's cohesiveness, the Paper Chase reuse found-sound clips (though I don't want to know where they found them) throughout the record. Congleton also revisits several hip catch-phrases such as 'You better hide those kitchen knives!' and sugary themes such as swinging axes and baseball bats. The Paper Chase is post-everything, mixing industrial, jazz, hardcore, punk and just a little bit of despair to create an atmosphere of waste and decay. Most important, though, is singer John Congleton's voice. Oh, what a voice! You can bet he won't be singing opera any day soon, 'cause he's got a voice that would give a serial killer nightmares. He's half wavering croon and half desperate shriek, but he's all creepy. Congleton's vocals, like the instruments that back them, stay cohesive throughout. Most of the songs stay in the same vein without being redundant, and the album follows a logical path until its logical (if you're psychotic) conclusion.

'When you're happy and you're safe / you'll do anything to keep it that way,' sings Congleton on 'I Did a Terrible Thing.' Either he's never been happy and safe or he didn't try hard enough to stay that way, 'cause something pushed him over the edge. 'I came up with the lyrics after I had a horrific dream that I was on a camping trip in the woods with everyone I ever knew well in my life. Once they were all asleep, I set the forest on fire and escaped through the slit in my tent. That dream still kind of haunts me. I wonder what that means...' said Congleton when asked about the subject matter of the album opener. Yeah, hmm, what EVER could that mean? Could I get a dream analyst in here please? Ahem. Song titles like 'Where Have Those Hands Been?', 'I'm Gonna Spend the Rest of My Life Lying,' 'A Nice Family Dinner, For Once,' 'AliverAlungAkidneyAthumb' and 'Sleep with the Fishes' do more than hint at the tone of the record, and it never deviates. Ever.

There isn't a happy moment on Hide the Kitchen Knives, which makes it a very difficult listen. 'Don't say I never warned you / when I set the house on fire' and 'I wanna see your hair hanging from the trees' are just a sampling of a dark lyrical genius at play; never before has music actually been able to scare me. It's like watching The Ring on an in-casket TV screen with a corpse sharing the coffin. Okay, maybe not THAT scary, but shit, it had my hair raised.

The album closes with the symbolic 'Out Comes the Knives.' Congleton traces the path he takes all the way from the terrible thing he did (album-opener 'I Did a Terrible Thing,' if you missed that reference) to the moment it all ends. Much like the opener, 'Out Come the Knives' relies on chillingly clean, un-tuned piano and distorted vocals. Right around the three minute mark, pseudo-epic drums, strings and chorus mock everything that characterizes 'emotional epics' today. The drums are bare, sans cymbal; the strings deviate in and out of tune; and the backing vocals must be from the Chorus of the Church of Satan. Congleton cries 'Here comes the pride' until your ears bleed, and suddenly everything cuts except a distant beeping (perhaps a life support machine?) until that, too, is silenced suddenly. Whatever was coming has come and Congleton is no more. So put the kids to bed, pad the walls of your room and lock the kitchen drawer and give The Paper Chase another mind to infect. You'll never look at horses the same way again.

10.0 - Flawless
9.5-9.9 - Nearly perfect
9.0-9.4 - Essential
8.5-8.9 - Spectacular
8.0-8.4 - Highly recommended
7.5-7.9 - Impressive
7.0-7.4 - Very solid
6.5-6.9 - Consistent, but not without its flaws
6.0-6.4 - Enjoyable
5.5-5.9 - Better than average; not many standout qualities
5.0-5.4 - Nothing special, but nice enough
4.0-4.9 - Listenable; only a few enjoyable moments
3.0-3.9 - Not worth the price
2.0-2.9 - Pitiful
1.0-1.9 - Terrifying
0.1-0.9 - Redefines awful
0.0 - Avoid it like the plague


People who liked this also liked:
The Paper Chase - Someday This Could All Be Yours, Vol. 1Against Me! - Searching For A Former ClarityAgainst Me! - is Reinventing Axl RoseAgainst Me! - As The Eternal CowboyAgainst Me! - Crime as Forgiven ByAgainst Me! - White CrossesThe State Lottery - When the Night Comes [12-inch]Make Do and Mend - End Measured MileDan Andriano - Hurricane SeasonAlkaline Trio - Alkaline Trio

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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
kmikhael (November 22, 2006)

possibly the greatest active band today

Anonymous (September 23, 2005)

I have loved The Paper Chase for a long time, if you were a fan prior to this album, you know what kind of breakthrough it really is. This is a triumph in their lineup.

Anonymous (July 21, 2004)


Anonymous (June 28, 2004)

I find this album nearly flawless. This is one of the most unique and experimental albums that i have heard in a very long time. I recommend to everyone. And if its not your thing soo be it. Your opinion is no less important than mine. sooo..enjoy or not.

Anonymous (July 23, 2003)

no it's not, sorry.

flocktothebeat (July 23, 2003)

i dont mind the reviewer commenting back, i didnt understand why he said it was brutal he responded by pointing out that he did say what he meant by brutal in the review. thats what a message bored thing is for right?

Anonymous (July 23, 2003)

What's wrong with reviewers responding CONSTANTLY is that they look insecure when people disagree with them.

Anonymous (July 23, 2003)

I just listened to a few tracks, not bad, but not nearly as brutal as described. Or maybe I'm just a fucking weirdo myself.


Anonymous (July 22, 2003)

This is fucked up

FortyMinutesWest (July 22, 2003)

What's wrong with reviewers responding in the comments section of their own reviews? You people bitch too much.

Anonymous (July 22, 2003)

great rating scheme. i hate it when people give perfect scores to cds and then talk about flaws it contains. everyone should stick by this one.

aubin (July 22, 2003)

Haven't heard this yet, but my curiousity is definitely piqued due to this review.

Anonymous (July 22, 2003)

yeah cuz some people shouldn't be allowed to post opinions.

relay1112 (July 22, 2003)

"don't ya hate reviewers that keep commenting on thier own review? Like they are gonna win or something?"

Don't ya hate people who anonymously post left-field insults in other peoples' reviews? I think it's a good thing that I respond to what people say, cuz maybe I can clear something up for them. Or maybe I can piss off a jackass who shouldn't have posted anything here in the first place.

Anonymous (July 22, 2003)

this band is wack.

annonymous (July 22, 2003)

The video on the site pretty brutal and amazing

Anonymous (July 22, 2003)

don't ya hate reviewers that keep commenting on thier own review? Like they are gonna win or something?

i-type-poorly (July 22, 2003)

this rating is for that banner for "The Bronx". i don't know anything about the band, but that banner is funny.

relay1112 (July 22, 2003)

A dramatic review for a dramatic CD, I say. The word "brutal" wasn't exactly the centerpiece of my review; I only used the word once. The reason I used it, though, was becuase the guitars and vocals are so threatening and the lyrics so creepy that it has a tiring effect on the listener. I tried to clarify that idea by saying that the Paper Chase isn't brutal in the heavy distortion and growling sense (a la melodramatic hardcore bands), but in a more subtle way. Or something.

Anonymous (July 22, 2003)

This band is far from brutal, they don't have pummeling drums and crunchy guitars. NOT BRUTAL.

My tkae is:
The guitar work is phenomenal, really quirky solo-ish stuff, the basslines sometimes snap and pop and are super low cuz it is a five string tuned low. The drums really borrow from hip hop beats frequently and the drummer uses three of the biggest cymbals possible. Also thier keyboardist who also does the sample stuff live pretty much plays keyboard using the standard piano sound. The vocals sounds like modest mouse vocals, weird and whiny. The album has excellent production, as John does that for a living I guess.

I kinda thought this review was goofy and a bit dramatic. I've listened to this for over a year and have seen them play in a basement twice and never pictured myself in a meat packing plant being chased by a foreman with a knife.. but maybe I'm alone...

Anonymous (July 22, 2003)

if you wants want to read a real good interview with John Congleton of The Paper Chase, you should go to www.sayrah.net. They are a band that no other band sounds like. One of the few bands that are actually innovative and original.

flocktothebeat (July 22, 2003)

I cant tell what this band would sound like, you say it is brutal but then you say it is post everything including hardcore and punk. i have never heard a brutal post hardcore/punk band. are hot water music brutal? is fugazi brutal? hmmm
i think the jap. version of the ring kicks ass, much creepier.

FortyMinutesWest (July 22, 2003)

"the ring sucks."

Yeah, it wasn't the least bit scary. When they showed the first girl with her face all twisted up I had to laugh.

Anonymous (July 22, 2003)

This band is much better than the review.

Anonymous (July 22, 2003)

the beats man...

relay1112 (July 22, 2003)

In depth, indeed.

Where'd the Beastie Boys reference come from?

Anonymous (July 22, 2003)

For those of you wanting a more in depth opinion of what this band sounds like, it is if Modest Mouse and the Beastie Boys had kids (minus the hip hop ryhmes) while fugazi jerked off and watched.

Anonymous (July 22, 2003)

The Paper Chase is amazing, I once saw 'em play a 15 x 15 feet room (which includes the "stage" and audience) at a show a friend of mine arranged. One of the most intense shows I've ever seen.

funkisdead (July 22, 2003)

the ring sucks.

jheisel (July 22, 2003)

this cd rocks, i thank the russian cd pirates for pirating it. and i thank shannin at southern records for sending me both paper chase cds. and i thank the paper chase for selling me a 7" years ago at the fireside bowl. yes.

inagreendase (July 22, 2003)

i would* listen to

inagreendase (July 22, 2003)

This definitely isn't within traces of something I listened to, but that was definitely a great fuckin' review, and you really a great fuckin' reviewer. Watching The Ring on an in-casket TV screen with the corpse next to you...who the fuck would come up with that analogy? Great stuff.

Bryne (July 22, 2003)

I haven't heard this band, but that was a fantastic review.

And that guy sounds incredibly fucked up.

FortyMinutesWest (July 22, 2003)

Points for creativity, I suppose. Death by wheel barrow would be a lousy way to go.

relay1112 (July 22, 2003)

Another interesting thing is that all my double quotes (") get changed to single quotes ('). Weird. I'll definitely work harder at this for my next reviews.

relay1112 (July 22, 2003)

The first sentence of the third paragraph, "I'd call it a concept album, except I don?t..."

maverick (July 22, 2003)

I thought I caught all of them in this review... Where do you need them fixed?


relay1112 (July 22, 2003)

Once again I apologize for the random ?'s instead of commas and apostrophes. I'm gonna have to check why that happens in my next review.

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