Some things happen overnight and sometimes it just takes a little longer, and in the case of The Young Knives this seems more like the second go at a musical career. After the mini album "... Are Dead" there has been a gap spanning about 4 years but in that time the band seem to have matured into something which sounds like the fully-fledged article. Too many new bands these days seem to suffer from the affliction of a handful of good songs which don't really stretch across the demands of a full length album. This is quite different.
The obvious contemporary comparison is The Futureheads and whilst the pair clearly share similar likings for spiky guitars, songs about the quite mundane everyday world we all live in, and quite complex vocal interplay there seems to be a little more substance to The Young Knives. The band certainly share a strong link to XTC who come from quite near to the home of this Oxfordshire trio.
The songs themselves range from the catchy ("She's Attracted To", "Weekend and Bleak Days (Hot Summer)") to something a little more substantial. Songs like "Mystic Energy" and "Another Hollow Line" have a little shade and don't seem to try too hard whilst "Coastgaurd" is positively gothic with guitars echoing the best Banshees era John McGeoch. This track, particular hints at intersting possiblities for the future and is a darkly wonderful highlight.
A word too about the bonus DVD which neatly avoids a dull "making of" set of talking heads interviews and instead includes the videos for all their singles which are all worth checking out, some blistering live footage, and a series of home videos to their songs which concludes with a very watchable video for "Another Hollow Line" set to footage of Morris Dancers which makes the extra money for the DVD worth it on its own.
If you have always had a liking for spiky post-punk with intricate vocal interplay then this lot might just be for you.
I have no idea who's listening to The Young Knives. It seems they're marketed to the same kids who think Futureheads and other bands starting with 'The' nowadays are the be all and end all. However, Knives' most airable songs tend to be poking fun at that same crowd (see 'She's Attracted To' for a hilarious sendup of vicious chuckleheads who fight with their girlfriends' parents...even funnier in the video). When I try to recommend this band, or either of their proper albums, to people, I don't know what to tell them. From track to track, their sound changes so completely it's hard to base a recommendation on any single song. I bought the album on the merits of 'Another Hollow Line,' and I've never been so happy a band didn't just sound like the single I loved. Comparisons to XTC and Blur are certainly closer to true than those made to Knives' modern peers, but still don't quite paint a proper picture. This +DVD version of the album has a disc with band-made videos as well as other commercial-release vids. Included is some live footage of these unlikely-looking rocklads doing their thing, and that has a...less-than-enlightening commentary track by the band! If you're bored by the third album of the same song by Futureheads, and yearn for a band out of their 20s with brains to boot, by all means get this CD. And for an extra bit of fun, the +DVD version is a nice bonus. (All that being said, if you don't know the band already, I consider the 2nd album, 'Superabundance,' a much better intro...with a much better bonus DVD!)
This is one of the best debut albums I have ever listen to. When I saw pictures of The Young Knives in NME I thought I would hate their music the tweed jackets and the whole 70's geography teacher look didn't do it for me I thought they would be some mellow bland boring indie act boy was I wrong, after witnessing them live and now owning this album I think in my opinion they are the most important new act out at the moment (along with The View), they are exciting without being incoherent and shouty or conforming to many indie cliques they are just the perfect balance of musical styles. Blur was an obvious influence of many tracks especially She's Attracted Too and they do take me back to the Brit pop days but dare I say they are more together with their sound they clearly know what they want and when the styles shift it so seamless and faultless.
I know this review is ass kissingly bias but I really truly feel this is that good, my only concern is how they will follow it up what's better than perfect?