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worried well

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Tracklist

Mitwirkende

Künstler: 31 Knots
Label: Polyvinyl
Künstler: 31Knots

Rezension

Critics cite Sonic Youth, prog rock, post-rock, anti-rock, and math rock when talking about the angular, frenetic, and slightly disturbing music made by 31 Knots but this eccentric little trio -- Joe Haege (singer/guitarist/keyboard player and main songwriter), drummer Jay Pellicci, and bassist Jay Winebrenner -- has claimed their own unique little piece of rock turf. There are hints of Talking Heads and late-'70s N.Y. no wave bands like the Ambitious Lovers in the mix, but their angular, irregular tunes are unlike most of what's going on in rock music in the early 2000s. The music the band plays is slightly disjointed and linear in structure, but songs still hold together enough to be recognizable as pop tunes. Haege's chaotic guitar work is always melodic even as it skirts the boundaries of dissonance, while Pellicci's drumming and Winebrenner's basslines hold Haege's forays in check and add a rhythmic drive that keeps everything moving forward, although not in a manner anyone would call straightforward. Haege's lyrics are just as anarchic as the music, images that go off at oblique angles, like looking through a kaleidoscope factory through a kaleidoscope. Haege has an inimitable vocal style. David Byrne is the closest antecedent, but Haege sounds more confident, more focused, and less nervous; more pissed off than put upon. What the songs mean is anybody's guess, but lyrics tend toward bleak visions of humanity struggling to get out of impossible situations. "Statistics and the Heart of Man" alternates between a soothing bass guitar pulse and bursts of angry drumming and clanging guitar noise. Haege sings about dancing, but the fractured rhythms make that all but impossible. "Compass Commands" is a wailing, wrenching anti-war song that sounds like its being played by a band suffering from post-traumatic shock, then out of nowhere a female chorus pops up singing "kill or be killed," a jarring surrealistic touch. "Certificate" is musically straightforward, but lyrically full of confusion and anger; it builds to a crescendo of guitar noise then a gentle acoustic piano figure rises up to bring the songs to a soothing conclusion. The music's unexpected stops and starts and Haege's disquieting vocals keep you off balance throughout the record's 12 tracks. The album isn't an easy listen, but it mirrors the kind of desperate confusion many people are feeling as the year of 2008 slowly slouches toward its conclusion. ~ j. poet