31knots - It Was High Time To Escape


Year of Release: 2003
Label: 54?40' or Fight!
Catalog Number: n/a
Format: CD
Total Time: 00:00:00

This is the second studio album from 31knots, a relatively new band from Oregon. Their first, A Word Is Also A Picture Of A Word, was well-recieved when it was released in 2002 and even had a new genre coined to identify it ("prog-pop," if that's not a contradiction in terms). They are a very interesting band, to say the least, obviously holding no compunctions to do the expected or follow any templates. True originality is always worth more than a second glance, and this trio has it; abstract and highly experimental, I haven't really heard anything I can compare this album to, apart from itself. Possessing a certain unique flair and talent, this is a remarkable band, and It Was High Time To Escape is a pretty remarkable album.

I get the feeling, however, that it is crossing a slightly uncomfortable fusion boundary ? not that they find the merge of styles difficult, because they do it very well indeed, but in the attitudes of the listeners. Though undoubtedly progressive, it has a distinct flavour that derives from the "mainstream alternative," which I think a lot of pure prog fans may shy away from initially. To go the other way, this probably won't fit snugly with a lot of plain alt-rock followers either, being heavily salted with nonconfigurative prog rock weirdness. I'll admit to feeling a little uncertain about it at first, as it's very hard to categorise ? but given the rebellious nature of the music, they'd probably find it a compliment that a reviewer couldn't neatly pigeonhole them. After letting it grow on me for a bit, and discarding the notion that I should be trying to fit them into some pre-conceived musical hole in my brain, I've found I quite like it. It's never going to be one of my favourites. But it's a good album, intriguing and intelligent, worth the time taken to find.

Overall, this has a college-radio atmosphere, raw and bare, tinged with cynicism and peculiarity. The lyrics and songwriting are uniquely odd; the playing is very good, once the ear manages to unravel the layers of music, sometimes contending discordantly with each other, sometimes playful, sometimes melding, always changing. My highlight is "That Which Has No Name," which has some very clever lyrics and composition, combining the best elements of what makes the album work. "No Sound" is another favourite, with some good use of strings, chugging dischords, led by spittingly angsty spoken word. "Without Wine" is relaxed and strolling, slightly more musically coherent than the rest, and "At Peace" has some good melody lines to listen for as well. The closing song, "Matters From Ashes," is wistful and whimsical, tapering into nothing, giving the album an unfinished, thoughtful feeling.

Overall I've been surprised. Finding that you actually quite like an album after initially thinking it wasn't your thing is always a pleasant revelation, and I'd like to offer my recommendation to those of you who enjoy a little bit of oddball intelligentsia from time to time. A very interesting listen.

[This review originally appeared October 2003 at the ProgPower Online review site -ed.]


Tracklisting:


Musicians:
Joe Haege - guitar, piano, samples, vocals
Jay Winebrenner - bass, guitar
Jay Pellicci - drums

Discography:
A Word Is Also A Picture Of A Word (2002) The Rehersal Dinner (ep) (2002) It Was High Time To Escape (2003) The Curse Of The Longest Day (2004)

Genre: Rock

Origin US

Added: January 31st 2005
Reviewer: Karyn Hamilton
Score:
Artist website: www.31knots.com
Hits: 1448
Language: english

  

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