31 Knots - Talk Like Blood (Cover Artwork)

31 Knots

Talk Like Blood (2005)


31 Knots has been one of my favorite bands for a few years now. Back in 2003, It Was High Time to Escape was one of my most anticipated albums, and turned out to be my favorte album of that entire year. In 2005, the band's Polyvinyl debut couldn't have been more eagerly anticipated either. If you've ever looked forward to an album like I have, you know that you are perilously close to setting yourself up for disappointment. And you probably know this mental process I'm going through:

  1. "It's pretty good."
  2. "I'm not sure I like it as much as the other ones."
  3. "There aren't any songs as good as 'No Sound' and 'Myopic Fights'."
  4. "Actually, maybe it is better."
  5. "I think it's more consistent the whole way through."
  6. "'City of Dust' and 'Chain Reaction' are starting to grow on me."
  7. "Yeah, I think it is their best one yet."
  8. "But why can't there be any songs like 'No Sound' and 'Myopic Fights' here?"
> Regardless of this psychological tug-of-war, 31 Knots remain one of those highly underrated, must-hear bands that's astoundingly innovative and bizarrely accessible. This batch of ten new tracks displays the ongoing perfection of the band's 'math pop' craft. The majority of these tracks are growers; at first glance they seem like esoteric algebra problems, but they unfold quickly when you start to soak them in.

All of the 31 Knots signatures are in place. The drumming of Jay Pellicci is a hypnotic world you can lose yourself in. Jay Winebrenner's bass-lines are effectively the lead instruments, and most of the time are like three-minute magic shows. The mood that these two parts create, in sum with sporadic sequencing, Joe Haege's guitar work, and his tortured robotic vocals, the feel-good soundtrack to an Eastern European dystopian novel.

Only Modest Mouse comes to mind as a band more astute at finding unorthodox ways to be catchy and addictive as these guys. If you've yet to hear their previous work, make Talk Like Blood your first 31 Knots encounter, and watch yourself sweat and writhe over their next album like I'm sure to do.

[originally written for wrecktheplace]