This band gets to me. Say, if I have a couple CD’s in the player and a No Knife album comes up at random, right when that first string is hit, my spine echoes the same vibration as the string. The guitars are that cutting… and it feels so good. I originally found No Knife after reading a review for Riot for Romance! on this website. It caught my attention, but I was fully convinced to check out the band further when I saw that Thrice was listening to it in their online journal (I know, but actually bands are a good source for finding new music). So you kids out there that are enjoying Thrice, open your ears and check out a band that your favorite band enjoys. Anyways, after listening to Riot for Romance! and enjoying it thoroughly, I searched the bands catalog of music.
Hit Man Dreams, No Knife's second full-length, really caught my attention. What I've learned from going back through the No Knife catalog is that this band likes to throw the listener around with their albums, as is the case with Hit Man Dreams. With the first half of the album, Mitch Wilson takes a chunk of your hair, pulls you in close and spits the first songs right in your face while the band pummels you from all sides. Then about midway, the album lets up a little to let you recover from the attack with a dreamy instrumental that leaves you dizzy, yet itching to get kicked around again. No worries though, because the band is more than happy to kick you on your back and beat the last half of the album into you. By the end of it, you're feeling a bit dazed, but ready to kick the first person you see in the face.
From the description you may think this is some kind of hardcore or something, but this is just inspired rock. Hit Man Dreams takes the style established in No Knife's first full-length, Drunk on the Moon, and refines it. The guitars are just as sharp and angular and the rhythm section is so enveloping that it could make a claustrophobic person sick. The lyrics can cause similar anguish. Some songs are pretty straightforward with commentary on conformity and relationships, but others take on a life of their own. You’ll understand them completely in one listen, think they mean something else in the second listen, and find no meaning in the third listen.
All four of the No Knife albums are spectacular. Each one will pull you into its own little universe, rough you up a bit in its own style, and spit you back out into the real world. Drunk on the Moon and Hit Man Dreams are the most hard-hitting and raw albums that veer more towards the punk sound. This makes Hit Man Dreams my personal favorite, because it is still aggressive and youthful, but cleaner than Drunk on the Moon. Then as the band matured and experimented a bit, the music slowed down a little and became what is found on Fire in the City of Automatons and Riot for Romance! Both are very good chill albums, with occasional outbursts of energy similar to those found on the earlier albums. Regardless, you need, at least, one of these albums in your collection. The No Knife experience is worth the 10-15 dollars. Don't expect to fall in love with No Knife from one mp3 either. You need a full album to understand what they're all about.
With nothing but silence coming from the No Knife website, the future of the band is looking bleak, so it'd be smart to get your hands on one of these albums before they are being sold on EBay for fifty bucks. No Knife will probably go down as one of the best bands that never broke through, unfortunately. They're one of those bands beyond definition. They're just... No Knife. If you don't have anything from them, get your hands on at least one of their four excellent albums and cross your fingers for them to do at least one more tour, because goddamn it, I never got to see them live!