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31 Knots - Worried Well (Cover Artwork)

31 Knots

31 Knots: Worried WellWorried Well (2008)
Polyvinyl Records

Reviewer Rating: 4.5


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

Joe Haege is a carnival barker at a progressive post-rock cabaret, and he probably doesn't care whether or not you're in the audience. Don't get me wrong -- I'm sure he'd love an adoring audience, but 31 Knots is one of those bands who've never made music for anyone but themselves, and their work ha.
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Joe Haege is a carnival barker at a progressive post-rock cabaret, and he probably doesn't care whether or not you're in the audience. Don't get me wrong -- I'm sure he'd love an adoring audience, but 31 Knots is one of those bands who've never made music for anyone but themselves, and their work has always come off as unapproachable to the average ear. And none of it would be possible without his key players, Jay Winebrenner on bass and Jay Pellici on drums. Together, it's a weirdo stage show for the indie kids, minus the camp.

And yet, on Worried Well, the band takes their music paradoxically further towards the experimental and the familiar. "The Breaks" adds a stiff funk groove to the drums and bass while the main melody is carried by staccato keys reminiscent of a neon `80s R&B group. Full of cuts to droning samples, faltering distortion on the drums, loud fade-ins on feedback, the song feels almost like sound collage. But as the sum is an easily recognizable melody, it's a track that could surprise you by blasting through the competition at your local college radio station.

31 Knots works hard within the realm of their four main instruments -- guitar, keys, drums, and bass -- to create something atmospheric and enormous. Take the blazing piano arpeggios played at double-speed-to-stop-time drums intro of "Strange Kicks" before Haege spews out "I am made of weapons grade / mass compassion and Pearly Gates." The song plays off of two instruments and voice, but could fill a coliseum.

The songs bounce through dynamics, going from a short whisper to full-on bombast and pomp in miliseconds, letting a noodling bass loop be overpowered by a screeching guitar placed 20 bars higher in the mix. Or the schizophrenic attack that is "Worried But Not Well," whose verse has the guitars strumming as fast as they can over spastic drum loops, only to break into a poppy, angular chorus. The album breaks conventional though for what the band is capable of, taking dabble in baroque piano pop for "Compass Commands," featuring call-and-response vocals.

And before you can even think twice, "Upping the Mandate" takes a slow-paced synth-pop disco twist to form one of the most conventional song forms the band has ever taken on.

The whole album is woven together via a series of samples -- maybe a few seconds of a hip-hop break, or a droning muffled bell over strings that gets pitched up and down forming a new melody out of one note -- that shape the album into a complete form of art rather than a mass of songs. But that doesn't mean you won't be flipping around to catch your favorite tracks.

You see, 31 Knots dosen't blend or meld genres. They play in the invisible genre. You can't see it, taste it, or smell it, but you're fairly sure it's there. And after this album, you'll either be ready to try and push through dimensional barriers to find it, or ready to wash your hands of this mess altogether.

 

 
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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.
strikeeverywhere (August 26, 2008)

A NEW PUNK BAND WITH AN OLD-SCHOOL FEEL!!!

www.myspace.com/mayasruin

Check it out!!!

softcoreseizure (August 22, 2008)

So good. Get it on vinyl if you have a turntable. 180 gram and it includes a download code.

wallofyouth (August 22, 2008)

36 crazyfists

inspection12e (August 22, 2008)

Certificate is one of the great songs on this. I love the guitar work. One of the best guitarists in indie music.

xote (August 22, 2008)

Good band. Will hear this eventually. Poly Vinyl is still a good label.

osloboditelj (August 22, 2008)

One of the year's best releases so far. "Certificate", in particular, is one of their best songs.

inspection12e (August 22, 2008)

Most every indie store stocks Polyvinyl stuff. Everyone I have ever been to atleast.

thegreatestmanalive (August 22, 2008)

havent heard this album yet but im really excited about it, its going to be impossible to find

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