Friday, September 29, 2017

Vinyl Review: "Plays One Sound And Others" by Knife In The Water

Plays One Sound And Others
One thing I saw in a how to PR manual was to let the recipients of your message know how many albums your band has released so that they can get an idea of how far you've come.

Imagine, if in 1991, you picked up a copy of Metalllica and then started moving backwards, but instead of going in reverse order, you picked up their debut, Kill 'Em All.

Most listeners might be a bit hard pressed to see how this was the same band. From that point, Metallica veered off into some very different directions.

It's often left out how those changes started though. The band that recorded that oft-lauded debut wasn't the same band that wrote that album. In fact, it wasn't even until their third album that the band in the photos and the grooves wrote and recorded the entire album.

Knife In The Water
Now, that's not to say that those gentlemen just made it on the works of the new folks in the band. All of them continued to grow and develop as musicians.

But thinking of them recording those two albums, or any of the following.

That's what separates the adults from the children. Only AC/DC can continue to write the same album over and over while still being huge.

This is an odd review. Not only are we talking about Knife In The Water for a second time, but this is a vinyl re-issue of their debut album. So, in the course of a couple months, we're listening to their most current work and their first works.

It's a common refrain that bands typically make their best album first, because it's the album they've had their whole lives to write, but in this guy's humble opinion, that's for the lazy. It is possible to continue  making great music your whole career if you're willing to put in the work, see Metallica.

For the record, the Metallica comparison is only apt in terms of the sounds of the music. Reproduction is not miles ahead of Plays One Sound And Others. It's just different.

There are certainly some markers that these are the same people, but whereas the first album we reviewed of theirs was some alt-pop bordering on synth, this album is more of an Americana release. It's safe to say that they grew and changed into another animal entirely.

It's hard to say which one is better than the other. They are both brilliant records full of slow, methodical ballads. Music is rarely described as methodical, but in this case it fits like a glove.

Knife In The Water can never be described as playing too many notes. If anything, they might be leaving a couple out here and there. This sort of mindset gives every single note a greater significance. Instead of giant chords, we get slow arpeggios. Instead of powerful vocal runs, we get subdued emotional pieces.

Moving back to the first point, this album even sounds like it was written by two different bands, or a band in transition. The first side features swirling Hammond Organs and the second side is a very minimalist piece of music.

I'm a bit loath to call it, or liken it to pop, but there aren't any other markers that come to mind. It's certainly not rock, metal, rap, or country, but there are some country conventions here and there.

On a day when I'm feeling a bit hungover, this was the perfect record to listen to. Mellow and morose. It's making it a bit harder to say goodbye to my family for the trip I have to take next week.

Release: Out Now
Genre: Americana
Label: Sonic Surgery Records (Super Secret Records subsidiary)

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