Bent Knee — Land Animal
(Inside Out Music 88985421002, 2017, CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 2018-03-24
Bent Knee is one of those bands where saying “The new album is more of the same” is high praise. Their music is so distinctive and enjoyable that a substantial change is not at all necessary. They can continue to develop their style in the same vein and not sound like they’re repeating themselves or resting on their laurels. The core band is intact: Courtney Swain (vocals, keyboards), Ben Levin (guitar), Jessica Kion (bass, vocals), Gavin Wallace-Ailsworth (drums), Chris Baum (violin), and Vince Welch (sound design). Again they are joined by many guests providing additional strings and trumpet. The ten tracks are unpredictable as always, sometimes veering unexpectedly from ambient floating to crashing rock to delicate chamber music and more. At other times, they apply the changes more gradually, building up from a bed of mysterious atmospheres; “Insides In” is like this, going nearly four minutes before anything loud appears, then working up to a powerful finish in the last couple of minutes. There are a couple of things I notice about Land Animal that present change or development from Say So. One is the increased prominence of certain kinds of rhythmic irregularity: unexpectedly changing from an eighth-note feel to some kind of triplets, executed precisely between the bass, drums, and guitar. This tactic is somewhat like what some of the more progressive electronic dance artists have done by means of programming or digital editing, here accomplished by skilled players. The other change is the prominence of sweeping melodies a little reminiscent of 70s orchestral soundtracks. Large intervals, chromaticism, and a legato delivery are coupled with thick orchestration (mostly violin, sometimes with cello as well) to add a touch of grandeur to several songs. Land Animal is another winner from one of the most creative bands active today.
The Seventeenth Dream of Dr Sardonicus Festival Tickets Now Available – Fruits de Mer Records and their merry crew of psychedelic explorers are getting set to present the next The Seventeenth Dream of Dr. Sardonicus Festival. The dates are set for August 2-4, 2019 at The Cellar Bar in Cardigan, Wales. They've also announced that the legendary Groundhogs will top the bill. » Read more
Charles O'Meara (C.W. Vrtacek) RIP – A true musical original has left us. Charles O'Meara, who recorded under the name C.W. Vrtacek, was a wild-card musical talent, ranging from complex progressive rock to introspective modern compositions, with stops at many places inbetween. » Read more
Eurock Documentary Seeks Funding – We've been fans and fellow travelers with Archie Patterson and his Eurock project on the journey to discover great music. After many years of promoting and trying to spread the word,a new phase is beginning: a documentary film. Things like this don't just happen, and money does not magically appear to make it happen, so it's up to the fans to get it done. » Read more
Marty Balin RIP – One of the architects of the 60s psychedelic sound of San Francisco has died at the age of 76. Marty Balin was a singer, songwriter, and guitarist who was one of the founders of Jefferson Airplane. After the split of the original Airplane, Balin went on to form the highly successful Jefferson Starship. » Read more