Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Predictions for the New Young Knives Album

Here's something I posted on Twitter a couple of weeks ago:

Here's the reply I received shortly afterwards:

This tweet made me very happy indeed. 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 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.
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