Red Knife Lottery - Soiled Soul & Rapture (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Red Knife Lottery

Soiled Soul & Rapture (2009)


Red Knife Lottery's first long-player, Soiled Soul & Rapture, is a long time coming. While it's a solid effort, it seems the band sort of skipped right from their March on Electric Children -- 2005's extremely promising EP, So Much Drama -- to their Crimes. That is, to say, Soiled Soul & Rupture is simultaneously weirder yet largely more accessible, chock full of sassy and spastic takes on both melody and intensity. But it does seem like they skipped over their Burn, Piano Island, Burn, which they assuredly had the potential to make (you know -- an astounding, genre-defining/defying album that blows minds at nearly every turn).

See, that Blood Brothers metaphor isn't just appropriate for cataloging the band's success rate. A tamer take on that Pacific Northwest band's friction and frenetic motion continues to coat everything Red Knife Lottery does, but they're by no means copycat notions -- just a quietly steady similarity, really (check the uptempo, flailing "Hip Bruisers"), but especially when frontwoman Ashley Chapman lets loose her Johnny Whitney-esque caterwaul screams. The freakout in "Junkie Jazz" fits these descriptions well, but it works perfectly and is probably Rapture's best, most attention-grabbing moment.

You might think Rapture has a slight cabaret vibe with the slower, keyboard-inflected opener "Holy Skirts," but it doesn't quite hold for anything else on the album. The band prove more adept at swelling, unnerving atmospheres; Since by Man, once close associates of RKL and also fellow Milwaukeeans, have always played a subtle influence to the band's style, and one can hear their fuzzy, pensive atmospheres in more wall-of-sound collapses like "Raise No Fool," "Shapeshifter" and "SWSW."

Soiled Soul & Rupture only suffers because of its unnatural-feeling arc and usually curt approach. The songs are thoughtful and condensed but tend to lose sight of a climax. Nonetheless, this is a creative and worthwhile debut.

The Artist Is Nothing