Crash of Rhinos - Knots (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Crash of Rhinos

Knots (2013)

Topshelf / Big Scary Monsters / To Lose La Track

Topshelf Records really knows how to find them. Crash of Rhinos offered great promise with 2011's Distal and Knots delivers on said promise. The Derby, UK-based band pummel the listener with a diverse range of musical skill and emotional tact to create a riveting record.

"Luck Has A Name" and "Opener" set an early tempo that throws back to their earlier material–more steeped in indie and alternative punk. The way the band manage to step up the doses of post-hardcore bit by bit is astounding. Traces of Brand New and Title Fight start popping up and it's pretty audacious, but it works due to the intricate guitarship and steadily crisp drumming. What's also interesting is how these tracks evolve and differentiate from each other as Knots progresses; it's a sweet listen.

Influences of emo and post-hardcore are what Crash of Rhinos embed into the spine of Knots, with nods from bands like Sunny Day Real Estate and Small Brown Bike. The melody in "Sum Of All Parts" and the haunting rhythm in "The Reason I Took So Long" both bring enough awareness to those aspects. The former's haunting, tribal, Puscifier-like drums live atop a heavy, almost radio-friendly sound that presents itself in the least cheesiest manner possible. The stoic and unflustered pace of the record is perfect as it knows when to calm down, and when to set an aggressive pace.

A minor initial gripe with Knots is that the tracks are a bit too long but upon a second listen, they really start to hit home, with the lack of conciseness affording breathing room for Crash of Rhinos' layout and musical showcase. "Mannheim" is a prime example of intelligent arrangement; "Lean Out" is an audible masterpiece with broad sentimental strokes. There are snippets of math-rock influence thrown in toward the end of the record that remain contextual, showing that Knots is a record about taking calculated chances.

I love the concept of the record–simple, technically sound and cohesive. Headphones intact, it proves an amazingly cool and collected record. Surely, a sleeper hit of 2013.