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Knells, The: II

I became familiar with the art rock/avant-progressive band The Knells in 2013 and the release of their self-titled debut. There have been a few changes since their first release as vocalists Kayta Powder and Amanda Gregory have been replaced with Charlotte Mundy and Blythe Gaissert. Also gone is original drummer Michael McCurdy with Jeff Gretz now behind the kit. Rounding out the lineup is Nina Berman (vocals), Andrew McKenna Lee (guitar and electronics), Paul Orbell (lead and slide guitar), Jude Traxler (percussion, Rhodes, electronics) and Joseph Higgins (bass).

On their most recent offering, simply titled II, the band continue their art rock and avant-prog forays creating a uniquely crafted album brimming with creativity and imagination. As such, this band is hard to categorize. Perhaps the band says it best when they describe themselves as a 'post rock neo-psychedelia act'. The way the band is able to create unique layers of moody electronics, trippy guitar soundscapes and intertwining vocals is really quite stunning. The vocalists all have excellent voices which they use almost like an instrument adding a lushness to the overall sound. Special mention must also be made of the guitar work which is a highlight throughout.

The appropriately titled "First Song" begins the disc with an eerie soundscape of electronics and guitar effects. The cool guitar work continues enhancing the groove with psychedelic textures. The vocal layering is also paramount to the band's sound and is indeed executed flawlessly. This is followed by the moody "Interlude I" which again makes use of some interesting sounds and intermittent guitar textures. On "Could You Would You" the vibe is a little heavier as the fuzz toned guitar provides a thicker sound. The guitar is also highlighted in the psychedelic infused "Coda" featuring one of the best solos on the disc. Psychedelic and post rock combine in the wonderful "Bargaining" where the clean and crisp guitar tones are as tasty as the album gets. Trippy electronics add to the intense build in "Interlude II", another imaginative guitar based track verging into avant territory.

The Knells have released an excellent sophomore effort that any open minded progressive music fan should explore without further adieux. Highly recommended.

Track Listing:
1. First Song (4:41)
2. Interlude I (2:31)
3. Could You Would You (4:25)
4. Sub Rosa (4:53)
5. Coda (2:52)
6. Bargaining (2:31)
7. Final Breath (3:36)
8. Poltergeist (4:55)
9. Interlude II (5:25)
10. Immolation (6:58)

Added: March 3rd 2018
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Band's Official Site
Hits: 1019
Language: english

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