March 10th sees the release of the hugely exciting, classic, second album from Young Knives. After the band's recent Mercury music prize nomination for their 2006 debut album, Voices of Animals & Men, Young Knives return with follow up Superabundance, all new for 2008.
Proving their adaptability and freshness, whilst still maintaining the aspects of their personality loved by all, Young Knives are set to cement their position as the greatest British pop band of our generation. A refinement of the lyrical style showcased on tracks like `Loughborough Suicide' from the first album permeates their new material - but this time their fine eye for astute and cynical observations is countered by a new found mastery of pop sensibilities and soaring melodies, aligning the band with such British greats of the last 20 years as Blur, Pulp and Radiohead.
Superabundance is a vast progression from their previous work - produced by Tony Doogan (Super Furry Animals, Mogwai, Belle & Sebastian, Dirty Pretty Things) in Glasgow last summer - this body of work is (gasp) poppier and more expansive, but at the same time remaining utterly idiosyncratic and true to the band's leftfield and entirely British roots, making for a genuinely compelling and tantalising listen.
Ashby-de-la-Zouche's favourite sons return with a second album of angular punk-pop songs, lyrical eccentricity, and wry observations that curl an eyebrow at English society like schoolboys gazing at ants through a magnifying glass. Whereas the Young Knives' debut album Voices of Animals and Men
felt like a clever spin on the skinny guitars and lurching bass of the post-punk revival bands, Superabundance
feels like a bigger, deeper record, one which finds the Young Knives adding layers of guitars, parping trumpets, and orchestral trimmings to the brew. There are further changes to the formula, too: while earlier Young Knives material felt witty and versed in the language of farce, Superabundance
is a rather more melancholy, pensive affair, full of quiet disgust. "Up All Night" takes a determined sober look at late-night hedonism: "Everybody looks famous/They've been wasting lots of time/And everybody looks special/In their mind's eye". In the following "Counters", someone gasses themselves in the front seat of their car. Luckily, the Young Knives are compelling enough characters that they can carry off occasional sour vibes without coming on as crotchety old men: take "Dyed in the Wool", a heart-on-sleeve plea for simplicity that rhymes "headlock" with "wedlock" as a means of sneaking into your affections. It works, too. --Louis Pattison