Knot - Knot Music Album Reviews

The former members of Krill return with a slower pace and a heavy political conscience. The effect is one of careful deliberation in place of what once seemed to come so naturally.

Of the many Brooklyn DIY bands to fizzle out in the last decade, Krill left perhaps the biggest void. The Boston transplants brought a sprawling, wide-eyed mythology to their brand of grungy lo-fi power-pop, writing songs about tigers, twigs, and phantoms that were covert studies in phenomenological perception. Early recordings like “Self-Hate Will Be the Death of Youth Culture” almost anticipated their eventual breakup, with frontman Jonah Furman singing about his commitment to brevity and lightness in the face of punk-rock fatalism. Krill called it quits in 2015, with drummer Ian Becker pursuing a graduate degree in urban planning, guitarist Aaron Ratoff finding work with legal aid and tenants’ rights organizations, and Furman moving to Washington, D.C. as a labor organizer for the Bernie Sanders campaign. “When I was 20, I thought that making art was an important part of making a better world,” Furman recently told Fader. “[Now] I think there's more important things to be doing. Also, you get it out of your system.”
Yet the band made the complicated decision to reunite under the name Knot, easing back into indie rock with a relatively unassuming collection of new tracks. Ostensibly picking up where Krill left off, Knot’s self-titled release marks a conscious departure from the racing, anthemic arrangements that defined their earlier material; here, they slow things down, emphasizing their weight. Where the tight guitar and basslines on Krill albums like Lucky Leaves and A Distant Fist Unclenching held close to a central lightness, Knot is defined by incongruence, with a rigid austerity that wouldn’t feel out of place on an early post-punk record. While some of this could be attributed to their changing lineup—Furman swaps his bass for rhythm guitar, Ratoff fills in on both guitar and bass, and newcomer Joe DeManuelle-Hall joins as second guitarist—the general effect is one of careful deliberation in place of what once seemed to come so naturally.

Much of what made Krill great was bound up in their lyrics, and the new album returns to a similar headspace, looking to the natural world to explain their own psyches. “Foam” confronts the feeling of impending doom that can accompany even the smallest glimpse of sky or ocean at a time when rising temperatures threaten to destroy the planet, as Furman’s narrator struggles to speak to the people around him. Butting heads with his dad over their conflicting worldviews, he disputes the claim that people are inherently “evil motherfuckers,” only to end up doubting himself. “I believe in people’s power, but not at this great hour personally,” Furman sings with a bitterness unheard of in his former band.

Furman has long been invested in questions of individual morality, and his latest songs train a clear-eyed gaze on the dark hearts of oppressors everywhere. Songs like “Justice” and “I Live in Fear” address the necessity of locating power within individual actors and institutions, even as it operates at a larger scale. “And if we take our boot off their neck, how much justice will they want?” he sings on the latter track, voicing the class anxieties of a gun-toting vigilante in a moment of crisis. Other songs, though, recognize that power lies with everyone, expressed through even the smallest gestures of solidarity.

It’s easy to dismiss music with political aspirations as didactic, but Knot sidestep this characterization by focusing on the transformative potential of interpersonal struggle. Rather than rehash historical events or whine myopically about Trump, Furman remains committed to exploring the implicitly political aspects of everyday life, like taking care of a pet, or peeling an orange for your partner in the morning. This kind of political gesture is preceded by an orientation to the world that leaves space for compassion, and it’s here that the band returns with newfound depth. In a time of rapid change, sometimes the best you can do is keep moving.
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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

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Knot - Knot Music Album Reviews Knot - Knot Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Monday, September 07, 2020 Rating:

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