My first introduction to Bent Knee was via their high-velocity single ‘bone rage’. It introduced a rageful voice fueled with harsh guitar riffs and a rowdy crowd chant. It was a perfect intro to their new album ‘You Know What They Mean’ which brings together so many unusual rock anthems.
Following that single is the blissed-out beauty of ‘Give Us the Gold’. The choruses are a lush chill out blues fusion before the upstart chorus demands your attention. Bent knee loves a pointed melody where every instrument plays together in unison and that track is a great example of it. They also enjoy their more bluesy heavy rock too. ‘Hold Me In’ is an R&B classic wrapped up in heavy rock stylings.
Bent Knee revel in style changes too. ‘Egg Replacer’ flips between a crawling bass-led verse and a psychedelic burst of voice and energy for the chorus. ‘Chorus of Rocks’ is how I’d imagine a female-fronted punk band interpreting a Stone Temple Pilot track. It is simple but deadly with its catchy two-note riffs and disco strings. ‘Lovemenot’ is an interesting move into quirky 90s alternative rock. It encapsulates everything you’d want it a glorious collapse. From the dark minor-key riffs, crunchy production (which is a signature throughout) and a vocal performance that personifies contrary resentment – it’s a golden piece of art.
Never content to stay still ‘bird song’s a quiet and short ballad. It signals a move to a more symphonic rock sound for the final third of the album. ‘Catch Light’, ‘Garbage Shark’, ‘Golden Hour’ and ‘It Happens’ all bring the string arrangements to the forefront and they soften the harsh and angry production the drums and guitars have. It also makes each piece feel epic and cinematic. ‘Garbage Shark’ and ‘It Happens’ especially really resonated with me as they follow movement structures and also reminded me of the oft-overlooked My Brightest Diamond album ‘A Thousand Sharks Teeth’. Just much heavier.
Having joined bent knee with this album and not knowing their prior work, I have to say I’m an immediate new fan. The sheer energy and variety of noise their rock contains breathes new life into often tired tropes. At the end of each song I felt recharged and alive – ready to take on the next part of the day. Full of surprises from start to finish, I think I’ve found a new top tier favourite band to discover.
Recommended track: Bone Rage
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