Exposé Online banner

The Knells — II
(Still Sound 002-2017, 2017, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2017-11-22

II Cover art

One thing that is sorely lacking in most current progressive rock is any semblance of real originality. What we hear mostly are bands trying to re-create the glory days of the sound as it was defined in the late 60s and early 70s, or taking that sound or something like it and dumbing it down in order to make it more listener friendly, removing its edge. When bands like King Crimson, Gentle Giant, Jethro Tull, Van der Graaf Generator, vintage Genesis and Yes made a record, you knew it was them without being told, they had their own sound that was uniquely theirs. The Knells, led by composer and multi-instrumentalist Andrew McKenna Lee from Brooklyn, NY is one such band, unique in many ways, defining their own vision clearly among all others in any genre. So what makes them so unique? The band features five instrumentalists, including McKenna Lee (guitar and electronics), Paul Orbell (lead and slide guitars), bassist Joseph Higgins, drummer Jeff Gretz, and Jude Traxler featured on percussion, Rhodes, and electronics. What is most unique and unusual about this band is that all the vocals are arranged for a three part female vocal chorus (Blythe Gaissert, Charlotte Mundy, and Nina Berman), and indeed, while there are a couple instrumental tracks, the bulk of the album’s ten cuts are vocals, organized into two side-long suites that flow together beautifully. Lyrics are very thoughtful, delivered in an almost medieval chorale style, and the instrumental support is a solid art rock in service to this huge vocal presence. Lyrics are printed in dark red on black on the inside of the CD tri-fold, maybe the limited edition vinyl edition is somewhat easier to read, but either way the words are worth following along. All taken, Knells II, like its 2013 predecessor, is a unique and highly emotional recording that sets new standards for originality.


Filed under: New releases, 2017 releases

Related artist(s): The Knells

More info
http://theknells.bandcamp.com/album/knells-ii

Latest news

2019-02-21
You Can Be Part of an Ambient Electronic Project – The Gesture of History is a new electronic project put together by Sam Rosenthal of Black Tape for a Blue Girl, Steve Roach, and violist Sam Shadow. The music started as an instrumental track Rosenthal was working on for a Black Tape album, but took on a life of its own and demanded further enhancements. The majority of the funds raised will go to manufacturing costs for LP and CD editions, as well as other items as detailed on the Kickstarter page. » Read more

2019-01-31
Keyboardist Ingo Bischof R.I.P. – Keyboard player Ingo Bischof, best known as the longtime keyboard player of German band Kraan, passed away on January 29th, 2019. Bischof was born January 2, 1951 in Berlin-Kreuzberg and joined Kraan in 1975. » Read more

2019-01-11
Jazz Composer Mark Lomax, II Releases Epic 12CD Set – In addition to being a fine jazz drummer, Dr. Mark Lomax, II is a composer in residence at Ohio State University, where he has been very busy on the compositional front. The year 2019 is the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first ship bringing African slaves to North America, and in commemoration of this, Lomax has produced 400: An Afrikan Epic, a 12 volume set of CDs featuring a variety of different musical ensembles. » Read more

2019-01-02
Chicago-Based Surabhi Ensemble Tours the World in January – Surabhi Ensemble was formed more than a decade ago in Chicago with the aim of bringing together musicians from varying traditions to make music. Saraswathi Ranganathan, who plays veena, assembled a cast that includes Arabic oud, Spanish guitar, and percussion from Africa and India. This month, the group will be sharing their sounds with concert-goers in Southeast Asia, Europe, and Africa. » Read more

2018-12-23
Seaprog Festival Seeks Donations – Seaprog is a small festival in Seattle that highlights creative music from many genres with artists from around the world. It's also a US non-profit organization. They're seeking donations to help keep the ball rolling. Starting in 2013, the organization has been growing, and has featured such artists as Free Salamander Exhibit, Jack o' the Clock, Nik Turner, Cabezas de Cera, Miriodor, Thinking Plague, and many more. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Herbe Rouge - Herbe Rouge – This progressive group is of the sort that could only come from France in the 70s where a distinctive and idiosyncratic form of weirdness flourished. Like many of their progressive compatriots, Herbe...  (1999) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues