I had no idea that the Young Knives were making a new record, mostly because I didn’t see this tweet all the way back in April:
I’ve been a Young Knives fan since 2006, when I saw them supporting The Rakes at Cardiff University, so I was a little embarrassed to discover that news of their fifth album had flown under my radar for nearly five months. Still, I know about it now, so let’s take a moment to speculate on what this new record – the follow-up to 2013’s dark and delirious Sick Octave – might be like:
Artistic control! The brilliant bizarreness of Sick Octave came as a result of the Young Knives taking matters into their own hands, using Kickstarter to raise funds for a new LP, and doing exactly what they wanted to do without any record label compromises. I don’t know what the band’s current label situation is, but I see no reason to think they’ll rein in the weirdness for album #5 after realising their stranger ideas so juicily last time around.
Political statements! I went to see the Young Knives shortly after the release of Sick Octave in autumn 2013, and I distinctly recall frontman Henry Dartnall spitting angry little poems in between the songs from the new album. Some of these, if I remember correctly, had a kind of political/anti-war bent, and given all the….events that have played out of late (both in this country and abroad), I wouldn’t be at all surprised if their latest tracks are of a topical bent. I’m thinking an episode of Black Mirror set to music and put through the washing machine so it comes out all warped.
Homemade synths! One of the incentives offered to people who backed Sick Octave on Kickstarter were these cool little noisemaker synth thingies, handmade by the band themselves:
The sounds emitted by these things were all over Sick Octave, and assuming they’ve still got some lying around, I don’t doubt they’ll be over YKLP5 too. Or maybe they’ll make a *new* synth for this album, given that all the old ones appear to say ‘Sick Octave’ on them?
Understated desperation! One of my favourite things about the Young Knives is their knack for writing tunes that pulsate with a sort of quiet desperation, a desperation too polite – too British, perhaps – to speak its own name. Examples include Turn Tail (“These are my chores, I must not show the strain”), Lougborough Suicide (“I will never go down fighting”), Dialing Darling (“I am dialing, I think I love you, so what am I so afraid of?”), and – more recently – Maureen, in which a shy protagonist kindly comforts his neighbour and struggles to conceal his undying devotion to her.
I loved the weirdness of Sick Octave and I’m hoping for plenty more from album #5, but it’s this sort of thing that I really crave, so with any luck there’ll be a couple more of these heart-just-beneath-the-sleeve tracks on the new’un too.
Originally appeared here: