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The Young Knives - Superabundance

The Young Knives, Superabundance

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 3.5 out of 5

THE Young Knives wasted little time in following up 2006’s Voices of Animals And Men with this sophomore effort Superabundance but while the album does mark a progression it’s only partially successful.

Musically, it shifts between moments of sharp post-punk and ’90s era Brit Pop, whilst blending witty lyricism with some hard-hitting social commentary.

When it gets things right, it can be quite exhilarating. But there are some odd choices that either don’t work or sound hopelessly generic in the overcrowded post-punk genre.

Album opener Fit 4 U is an example of where things don’t appeal. Billed as an eccentric, leftfield pop gem, it’s actually a lacklustre starting point that aims for the cute social observations of early Blur but falls someway short.

Former single Terra Firma then gives things a welcome kick, its angular guitars and unashamedly post-punk values helping to create a club-storming anthem complete with lyrics such as “looks like mother Nature’s got herself a whore”.

Up All Night offers a savvy potshot at mysterious powder-snorting media types and asks “what’s the point, what’s the point, what’s the point?” But while catchy, it’s only ever throwaway.

Counters and Light Switch follow along in a similar vein, but just when you think you have the measure of the album it starts to mix things up a little more vigorously. Turn Tail marries some genuinely melodic guitar riffs with a sweeping strings arrangement and a strong chorus, while I Can Hardly See Them is a barnstorming rock ‘n’ roll offering that scuzzes up the guitar riffs and adopts some strained vocals to take-notice effect. The vocal layering late on is effective too.

Watch out, too, for Rue The Days, which opens with a “la, la, la” blast of energy, before dropping some cracking Brit pop riffs and a unreservedly catchy melody. The Blur comparison strikes again – but this time in a positive way. You’ll probably wish that Superabundance offered a little bit more of this early on.

Flies changes pace again for a surprisingly tender listen, complete with backing strings – although it’s a stripped down song that benefits from the restraint. And Mummy Light The Fire is another off-kilter gem which, though lyrically repetitive, is yet again doing something different (and kookily Blur-ish). It may take a few more listens to get properly used to, but it will probably become one of the album highlights for everyone.

Current Of The River brings things to a satisfying close, too (there is a distant hidden track, so be patient), tapping into the generally dark tone of this sophomore effort with a thought-provoking lament about suicide and angst.

It means that Superabundance ends on a much stronger note than it begins and generally bodes well for the future progression of this promising young outfit.

It’s also worth noting that the Young Knives have also made a video album to accompany the LP, featuring videos made for every track on the album, directly made and commissioned by the band. Some of these videos feature Henry’s own stop-motion camera films, thereby providing further proof of a band that’s clearly not afraid to diversify or take creative risks.

So, while we had our reservations early on, Superabundance is well worthy of anyone’s attention in spite of its flaws.

Download picks: Current Of The River, Terra Firma, Mummy Light The Fire, Flies, Rue The Days, Turn Tail, I Can Hardly See Them

Track listing:

  1. Fit 4 U
  2. Terra Firma
  3. Up All Night
  4. Counters
  5. Light Switch
  6. Turn Tail
  7. I Can Hardly See Them Anymore
  8. Dyed In The Wool
  9. Rue The Days
  10. Flies
  11. Mummy Light The Fire
  12. Current Of The River
  13. Long Cool Drinks By The Pool [Hidden Track]