31knots – Trump Harm
Uh oh, that cover might not bode well on a first gander but it is a good indicative of the surreal nature of 31 Knots and their strange jingly jangly music, fuelled by more rhyme than reason, packed in a chaotic seventh album called Trump Harm.
Let’s re-consider what I said. See the cover and possibly the weirdest thing is seeing an octet of hands spiralling around to form a sort of Beholder monster. This sort of Frankenstein is indicative of how this album is a combination of so many elements. It has some indie inklings, some jazzy experimental moments and a decisively punky ‘tude to keep you on your toes. It sounds friendly while playing that knife trick on someone’s hand. Just replace knife with “bowie knife” and someone’s hand with “your hearing”.
Since this review is not selling the idea of Trump Harm that well (no shit, Sherlock), I can only say that there is a pattern to their chaotic sound and it’s only when your attention is firmly grabbed that you start tuning into their wavelengths. It wasn’t until track three (‘Middle ages’) that my attention was deadlocked. The slightly distorted voices, the guitar riffs being played (a spot of math rock here and there), the cool basslines, it all started to make sense.
That sense of understanding came with the following track, ‘Egg on my face’ , which goes to some very dark places by the end. The slightly playful nature (again, those math rock riffs rule so much) gives way to an almost shouted end with some crunching guitar. Sounds like a Dalek having another bad day at Aviva Skaro adjusting Davros spaceship crashing insurance fees.
Sorry, for a minute there I lost myself. Happens while listening to this band, it changes direction so fast your inner compass needs readjusting.
Even if it feels like going into dark territory, the playful, head bobbing moments are not that distant. ‘A lot can tell’ made me go slightly Beavis and Butthead (much to the chagrin of office co-workers) and it’s one thoroughly enjoyable song. The rant-like nature of the vocal delivery (and that bass paying homage to Talking Heads) and the bizarre changes make it one of the best tracks from Trump Harm.
Another stand up track is easily ‘Stand up’. It sucker punches you into a sense of comfort, even with the odd change of tempo here and there. Then it goes for haymakers, a strategy followed in ‘Get gone’. Disorientation, but in the good way, like your housemate slipping absinthe into your Earl Grey (we all have been there).
Sporting a fantastic, almost proggy sound on their closing track ‘One tongue room (come to my senses)’, 31knots bids adieu with a fade out and a few bass notes that are jaw-droppingly cool. Kudos to Mr. Jay Winebrenner.
Trump Harm is a difficult one to get in if you’re just starting to know these guys, but once you get into 31knots wonderful, spiralling-outta-control sound, you’ll understand where they are coming from, which might be the musical equivalent of a Dr. Seuss poem. With distortion.
Random fact: That dude in the centre (singer/guitarist/goddamned genius Joe Haege) looks like a Beholder. I shall roll against dexterity to get the fuck outta his disintegration rays.