30 August, 2015

Recent Love (Them Fucking Canadians Edition)

Big Knife Little Knife, Too Many Words
Yes, I've been sleeping on writing a review for this because that's what happens when you work sixty to seventy hours a week. But, I assure you that I've not been sleeping on listening to this. Why? Because this is absitively, posilutely one of the best goddamned records of the year. I mean that, I really do. This is a record that makes you air drum against your wishes, this is a record that makes you want to drop obscene amounts of money on their goddamned t-shirts. This is a record you can have cocktails over, discussing politics whilst chain-smoking; cook dinner to for that dinner party you're hosting; listen to on road trips to college town music festivals while you sit in the passenger seat and illustrate your latest metafictional webcomic in your sketchbook; this is a record you can fuck to. This is smart rock 'n' roll, anxious rock 'n' roll, and exhilarating rock ‘n’ roll all in one package. Short version: Great rock ‘n’ roll. Just three people banging out some tunes; you never have to worry about what they’re going to do next, you can trust that it’s going to be as awesome as what they just did.
Seriously, this is a record you put on repeat and just fucking marvel at.
This is a record where you listen to it and wonder, “Why isn’t my band doing something this cool?”
This is a record you listen to and want to get your band on a bill with that band pron-to.
And if this unassuming little EP doesn’t grab you the way it grabs me, you have problems in your life that require immediate attention that I am not qualified to attend to. Simple as that, end of discussion.
Sure, “Suspensive Hyphen” kicks it off with a Sex Pistols-esque intro but it kicks that nonsense off to the side with the quickness and gets into some real shit. It’s uptempo, knocks your chest cavity a couple of times with heavy hammers, it’s a car chase for a couple bars and then turns into a dramatic crash replete with car flips. It practices an economy of progressions, going from this break-neck pacing to this beautiful little piece of drama of a waltz which... Cripes, did I just write that? Please forgive me. This record is easy to get swept up in. Especially when you’re trying to juggle writing a review, drink a cocktail of chartreuse and NOS, and play air drums at the same time.
“Circumlocution” starts off a little Gang of Four-ish, which is an immediate AOK in my book, and then the bass comes in all swirling and the drums just cut right to the goddamned quick with, “Hey. You know what? This is the beat, motherfuckers.” Just totally solid. Out of everything on this EP, this one is the one that reminds me most of Ann Arbor’s Javelins. Or were they from Detroit? I can’t keep remember.
“(Probably Misses His) Old Glasses”, as long as we’re drawing comparisons here, reminds me a lot of Ann Arbor’s (or was it Detroit’s?) Morsel. The beat swings here a little, the band plays a little more with space than on the first two songs - not so much sturm und drang as shadow and light, gradations of space and fullness - and there’s a gang vocal to boot.
It’s at this point that I really want to suggest that this record is very Lake Erie influenced: I hear hints of Javelins, Morsel, and, if you move further down south, Afghan Whigs (at their less melodramatic moments). This is kind of what was happening around that area of the rust belt, musically, back when I lived there. This is the good shit, the real deal; this is shitty grass, this is smoking in bars, this is dancing all night in front of the stage, drunk off your ass that night and not remembering a single goddamned song the next morning in the throes of a hangover; all you can tell your friends who didn’t make it that night was how awesome the show was. Can’t remember it for shit but it was awesome, sure as hell. And you danced and you met a nice gal and you never saw her again and everybody who was there had a great time and felt good and nobody fought and there was a moment or two of unison fist pumps in the middle of this song or that when the breakdown came and you crowdsurfed. It’s exaltant music, basically. It feels fucking awesome just listening to this record and thinking about the great time it must be to see this band.
For real, if this band comes to your town and you don’t have the night of your fucking life when you see them, you are a shallow husk of a person whose heart has never beat.
I’m not the hyperbole guy this often but really, Big Knife Little Knife should really be the biggest band of 2016. At least for one year, they should own the planet. If they don’t make three million dollars - a million per member - I’m holding all of you loveless bastards accountable.
Yes, I’ve been drinking. Fuck you. This record by this band is this great.
“Boredom or Apathy” ends the record and I don’t want it to. I want at least four more songs. But this is a healthy little time capsule - No. Stop. Wait. I’m writing bullshit again. But really: This song is full of great stop-start rhythms and that great, illusive “angular” guitar work, whatever the fuck “angular” means; nobody’s ever defined it solidly. It’s like the difference between art and porn: I know porn when I see it. I know “angular” when I hear it. I’m pretty sure this angular.
There’s no angry frontman here, there’s no browbeating politics, there’s no overwhelming pyrotechnics, there’s no over-tutored theory, there’s no bullshit. It’s just three people playing their asses off to deliver some art. Some well-rendered art. Just getting together and banging out some music. And there’s no way to argue with the results; it sounds awesome. Your band could only hope to put together a little package of comparable quality; I’m absolutely enthralled with this EP and you should be, too. I look forward to hearing a lot more out of this band.
Watch this video for “Circumlocution” and tell me it’s not the best thing ever. Because it kind of is.
I need more chartreuse.
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.