Modren in every way

There are a lot of 80s-ish bands out there these days, and many of them are very good. Almost all of them, however, sound a lot like one or two bands from back in the day. New Order and the Cure are the most common intersection points, but not too long ago I heard a band that sounded like it was channeling Level 42. That's (demented) commitment to an ideal.


Knifight, on the other hand, takes the chilly synths and proto-goth stylings of early Human League and Joy Division and then takes off. These songs have an orchestral feel to them. All of the little pieces are just that, notes in a score. Many of these songs do have the slow-build-to-the-apocalypse feel, but the minimalist hooks tend to undercut any anthemic intent.

That is an interesting way to arrange a song. Unlike EDM, where songs are assembled for the sole purpose of creating the biggest drop possible, Knifight's take on electronic music is much more conceptual. I'd say prog, but there's not much noodling. The studied approach to the songwriting, however, probably is rooted in some sort of Kraftwerkian dungeon.

This is a much more polished effort than Dark Voices. That album often came off as pastiche and a little collage-heavy. Knifight has refined its approach and stripped out a few of the extraneous threads. That debut remains fascinating, especially for the range of sounds that rush through, but V manages to incorporate the same swath of inspiration into a more cohesive sound.

That's a really difficult task, one that most bands can't manage. Years of touring and hard work seem to have served Knifight well. This is not the band's endpoint, but I think the sound here is one that it can use as a base for its future endeavors. Endeavors which might well bring down civilization as we know it.

Jon Worley

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