Hello and welcome to Discovery Corner on BTR!
As a music journalist, the daily task of diving headfirst into a growing digital abyss yields surprisingly few moments of genuine inspiration to bring back to the surface. It’s not pessimism or jaded weariness speaking.
There just seem to be very few groups producing new music that sounds unlike anything else around.
Luckily, there’s always some kind of miraculous exception poking its way out of the woodwork. In this case, perhaps bending is the right word. It’s an apt motion for an ensemble intent on twisting influences and genres into something that, ultimately, cease to resemble the shapes from which they were first formed.
I’m talking about Bent Knee.
The six-piece ensemble based out of Boston is somewhat of a sonic paradox. They devise cataclysmic song structures with the wit and veracity of a malfunctioning robot intent on destroying its master.
If that sounds too offbeat, then perhaps a second listen is in order. A polished, perfection-driven sheen bridges the music between moments of violent catharses that somehow always find new ways to dress abrasion with beauty.
The key word here is restraint. It’s clear almost immediately how technically proficient all of the members are, even if the listener doesn’t know the band are Berkeley alumni. The paradox exists in hearing Bent Knee create explosions that are self-conscious about their own power, while still retaining the unhinged quality of true insurgence.
Listening to 2014’s Shiny Eyed Babies, the drums and vocals on a track like “Way Too Long” present an ideal destructive soundtrack to what I imagine earthquakes might listen to while making love. Then there’s the thoughtful complexity of “Being Human,” where the tension of a whisper shudders with the coming storm.
However it’s the spaces between the vitriol that provide some of the music’s deepest shades and hues. The outro of “Being Human” is one of the most hauntingly beautiful passages of ambience that I’ve heard in a long time.
All of this tedious construction is not without its cost.
Fortunately each of the members possesses both the talent and patience to make such painstaking adjustments not only bearable, but also possible in the first place. It’s hardly surprising that each musician hails from vastly different backgrounds, influences, and even personalities
But enough words, check out the tunes for yourself.
And don’t forget to check out the Discovery Artist feature on Bent Knee!
Photos Courtesy of the band
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