Like they were never gone

This is the first Knife in the Water album in 15 years. Which means that the band records almost as slowly as many of its songs move. A lot of what I've read about the band refers to this as "space country." I always thought of Gram Parsons as "space country", and this ultra-languid, glacially-paced stuff is a lot more like "innerspace country." Or maybe "shoegaze country". Or, if you prefer, Knife in the Water is a dead ringer for what Galaxie 500 might have sounded like if it had any country influences at all.

Knife in the Water
(Keeled Scales)

I think all this "country" talk comes from the fact that Knife in the Water hails from Austin and has some affinity for Texas country music, but the band is rooted a lot more in the 80s indie rock sound than anything resembling a cowboy hat. So, y'know, a stripped-down Spaceman 3 (oh crap, there's that "space" word again!) or somesuch. I dunno. I'm thinking you get the idea.

I am really not a fan of this sort of hyper-introspective fare at a club. I prefer to be energized, not enervated, when I go out. But I've got three kids (the youngest is three), and I'm am always in need of an adrenaline injection. Some of you whippersnappers might just need something to help you slow down and smell the ozone. That's cool. Regardless of my feelings about any live show appeal, however, Knife in the Water makes some spectacular recordings. These pieces do move along at very deliberate paces, but after one listen it is clear that they are just as they should be. These fields should be traversed with an ear to the ground.

Elegiac is another word that comes to mind. Sometimes a band that reforms (or simply records its first album in forever) finds that its old sound is, well, old. Knife in the Water has deemed its sound timeless, and this album proceeds in accordance with that belief. Reproduction fits right into the band's canon without a gap. Ease off the throttle and take your time. The sound of real time is a fine lesson for today's overstuffed lives.

Jon Worley

return to A&A home page