Best album of the year so far and easily as good as their Mercury Prize nominated debut. What's it like- well it still has the intelligent quirky and self deprecating lyrical edge of earlier music - but reminds me of early Pink Floyd (Barrett Era)in that it mixes smart melodies,a unique Englishness and that special experimental edge that only happens when a band learn to play together and stay together.
Amazingly enough I'd never heard of Young Knives before a couple of weeks ago when I saw them open for The Flaming Lips in Edinburgh! I was impressed enough with their live performance, which was intense coupled with some songs which I really got into straight away so I thought I'd check out their album and I can't say that I'm disapointed at all, in fact since getting it Sick Octave has pretty much been on constant.
After the intro of 12345 the second track kicks in, ferociously, an electro groove drives the stunning Owls of Athens - a song which demands attention and screams to be played loud, very loud. The next track, We Could Be Blood is a masterpiece, opening delicately after the pounding Owls of Athens, sees the track build and build with some very clever wordplay by Henry. All Tied Up follows, another brilliant track with a catchy chorus which resembles early Pavement in the way the discordiant music hides a very catchy melody which gets in your head. White Sands follows, the opening line "What's that sound? Got to have some!", sums up how infectious this song is, really this is a five star album very lo-fi in recording but so catchy that it may be one of the best albums released and deserves to be listened to by anyone who claims to like music. Anyway, enough rambling on with the review, Something Awful follows next, a very dark track, which is claustrophobic in feel, a menancing violence as the victim becomes the aggressor after being pushed too far, possibly the albums stand out track, of which there are many to choose from. The ambient Preset Columns/Default Comets follows offering a reprieve from the darkness of Something Awful but still a subtle menance underlies the pretty ambience Young Knives have created. Bella Bella follows, using electronic meanderings to create a shoegaze classic, by now it becomes clear that not two tracks are the same on Sick Octave with Young Knives on top of their creative game. Marble Maze follows, which has the feel of early Public Image Limited in the way Henry sings the words over a post punk bassline a song which keeps building towards it almost two minute outro. Another Pavement-esque follows, a sycophantic beat carries Green Island Red Raw giving it a free-form jazz feel played on guitar, bass and drums making it possibly the most upbeat track on Sick Octave. The one minute proto punk Score follows, infectious in it's shortness which gives way to the absurdly good Bed Warmer, another epic track highlighting Young Knives ability to write and perform a catchy tune. The album's closer Maureen is the closest track to pop, though a disturbed pop which many left-field pop acts could only dream of writing, a fitting album closer for a fantastic album.
So, all in all Sick Octave is a modern classic, a truly fantastic British album by one of British musics hidden treasures, hopefully their Glastonbury appearance will open up more ears to this excellent band and sees more people fall in love with this album.
With uncharacteristic restraint I held off buying this when it came out earlier in the year and have finally caught up with it as a Christmas prezzie and it's well worth the wait. It's been heavily trailed as being a lot less 'poppy' than their previous LP and this is true - on first listening it's a bit twisted and discordant. But they write such good songs that the hooks quickly start to appear and you're drawn in. And like their previous best work it manages to be both rather dark and disquieting AND melodic and thrilling at the same time. A great shame that they didn't make it into the 'best of' lists for 2013, but that's no reflection on the quality that you'll find here.
Have been a fan of TYK since their 2006 spiky indie pop debut Voices of Animals and Men. They've certainly developed their sound since then but retain a very English style in terms of their sound and lyrics. Sick Octave is both audatious and stylish with solid song craft holding it all together. Influences are visible and you can hear elements of Blur, PiL & even Bowie but TYK know what they're about and stamp their own signature on everything. Give it a few listens and I promise this will grow on you like a dark English rose.
I have a lot of time for this band, and as this is album number 5 from them I had a feeling I would need to use my positive feelings from the past to describe this as a good album. I could not have been more wrong. This is inventive, tuneful and genuine quality. It is one of those rare treasures in our high speed society...a grower. My favourite albums of the last 30 years have all crept up on me and gotten under my skin. Let this album creep up on you and you will not be sorry. Fantastic.
I like this LP! It took a while and I was lucky enough to see the band live recently. Where they played this LP, start to finish! They joked about how it was different to anything they have done before. They did mix a few classic tracks in, I guess some fans will never like it, some people will never like it. I always like bands trying out new things, same old format = lazy. Buy it Young Knives fans and support a unique, quality British band! I doubt the British airwaves will do the same!
I nearly lost faith in TYK after the dreadful Ornaments... album which I felt failed to capture the spirit or inventiveness of this band.Thankfully I stuck with them and am glad I did as this is a return to form.If you liked the first two albums you will like this. Not sure about availability of formats though unless the first run of CDs has sold out as it's showing as unavailable until April 2014 but I bought a copy in 2013.So CD copies may be available elsewhere....
This album has made my winter. It sounds like nothing else, thats why I love it. All of the tracks are great, especially white sands, something awful and bella bella. I love his boy next door voice and the slightly unsettling feeling, twisted vibe to it all. Cheers Young Knives hoping to see you at a gig sometime soon please.