The Young Knives - Voices Of Animals and Man
If a band had Jarvis Cocker as a stylist, were sponsored by Spex Savers, were anger managed by Alan Bennett with tutorage on provincial English towns by Ray Davies and a course of jamming sessions with some poppy punk upstarts then the result would be The Young Knives. In reality these three songs of Ashby-de-la-Zuch (most famous for the birth place of Adrian Mole) haven't had such a fanciful history, although my analogies was well thought out, witty and bordering on genius. TYK have toured incessantly since their inception, been made adopted Oxford residents, released some cracking singles and have even caught the attention of Gang Of Fours Andy Gill who produced this very album.
In The Pink" has a slow languid aura with heavy bass playing from the bizarrely named House Of Lords. Guitarist and lead singer Henry Dartnall's gruff direct vocal is uncannily like Feargal Sharkey in his early Undertones days. All three of the band sing and the harmonies on this song are well realized without being too polished. Musically this doesn't show the band at their most adventurous and although quite pleasant isn't particularly memorable. "Tailors" is by and far the most baffling song on the entire album. The vocal is high pitched with snatches of acoustic guitar and unsettling bursts of electronica. It's ambient, chill out vibe and wanton experimental tendencies may alienate the indie fan base, but I applaud the Young Knives for attempting something a little bit left of centre and unexpected.
Back on more familiar territory is "She's Attracted To" which has the
ferocity of The Jam with a spoken word type rant masquerading as rap on
the verse leading to a football terrace chant in the chorus. The slice
of life lyrics are observant with an alarming realization that "you were
screaming at your mum and I was punching your dad" dementedly repeated
to get the
point across. "Loughborough Suicide" is an essay on the imprisoned mentality that existing in a small town can have on you. It's not all doom and gloom though with a satirical outlook which surprisingly for three mild mannered chaps could possibly end up in violence with cries of "go down fighting"
"Voices Of Animals and Men" is a good introduction to the world of The Young Knives. Its jam packed with stories, ideas, imagination and wonder with tunes so catchy it'll be hard to resist singing along after every subsequent listen. An absolute triumph in other words
Nicholas Paul Godkin
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