Knifight is one brutal name for a band, but don’t be scared. From Austin, Texas, Knifight produces some of the better rock and post-punk music out there. While the band maintains its very individual style, Knifight also manages to remain tame enough to care to everyone. Although these guys have been busy touring, they’ve also been hard at work to produce a brand new album, V.
V has some amazing atmosphere and Knifight’s chemistry as a band really pop in this album. There’s something constantly dark and eerie going on yet simultaneously the album is nonthreatening enough to be embraced. You almost want to move or even dance with some of the songs. The opening track, “Mistakes,” stands out a bit in this aspect. The melodies keep a semi-upbeat demeanor at first. The synths are hypnotic in their own right. Something with the guitar int he background just fills the song out. It’s a fantastic jam. The combined efforts of Knifight really shine through.
No song on this album demonstrates the band’s synergy better than “Broken Feeling.” At various points in the album it becomes really easy to get distracted by any particular instrument or the vocals. There’s a lot of texture and you can tell the musicians really put in some elbow grease. That said, “Broken Feeling” has a bit of an awkward start. Drums, a nice little electronic melody, guitar, it all begins to build. There’s an ominous feeling in the air. Then, suddenly, the song leaps into it’s full, and the transition doesn’t feel right. Too much texture too soon –but as it all smooths out, the song just captivates the listener. The synthesizers just pair really well with the drums, the guitar compliments it all and yet stands out on its own, the vocals stand strong int heir own right and yet manage not to overpower.
Clearly this balance, this perfect synergy amongst the band is part of what makes Knifight so good. The entirety of V does a great job of capturing this. These guys are impressively skilled and when each musician combines their musical prowess, the end result is just awesome.
Now for the bad news. V is painfully good, but almost generic. Knifight’s greatest strengths are also their greatest weaknesses. The album feels like a throwback to Joy Division. You could go so far as to say that the album is a post-punk masterpiece. The repetitious melodies paired with John Gables deep voice just really work perfectly. Unfortunately, at this point, V sounds too similar to other post-punk works. It’s generally not fair to compare the merit of one band’s album to another, but Knifight really needed to put a super unique spin on their latest album –it just blends in with what’s already out there too well.
From another perspective, this album has it’s own unique vibe amongst Knifight works. V is definitely a little bit darker than usual it seems. Definitely not a bad quality, and it helps demonstrate the band’s range of ability.
If you’re that much of a post-punk fan or you really love Knifight or you just need some more synthesizers in your life (or one of the rare, really good bari vocalists) –then by all means, enjoy V. Just be cautious; it’s not great, it’s not horrible; it’s a hit or a miss. V really seems as if it will be an absolutely polarizing album, and it’s hard to take sides.