How ‘Bout, How ‘Bout, How ‘Bout Now?
Have you ever followed a band intently with enthusiasm and awe, silently wondering, “How is it this band hasn’t exploded in popularity? Has everyone gone deaf?” 31 Knots is one such story. Positively on fire with their new album Worried Wellâ€šÃ„Ã®the third in a series of fantastic albums for Polyvinyl Records following Talk Like Blood and The Days and Nights of Everything Anywhereâ€šÃ„Ã®they are long overdue for their day in the sun.Opening with just handclaps on “Baby of Riots” Joe Haege exclaims, “You married your money and look what became / You had a baby of rats,” a scornful indictment before the seamless shift into the pumping power chords of “Certificate.” Many tunes effortlessly dance between stylistic differences. “The Breaks” for example, finds Jay Winebrenner’s snaking bassline and tremolo-processed keyboards darting between Jay Pellicci’s punchy drumrolls as Haege leads up to a manic howl of, “You are / denied!” Spaced-out synthesizer ambience accompanies the relaxed refrain “Weary, weary, weary, weary / can’t you tell?” on “Take Away the Landscape,” and a choral roar of “Shall I / inspect / the dead man’s chest? / Surprised / to find / there’s nothing left except / except what we never really wanted” stops you in your tracks.
On occasion the trio take a more straightforward approach: the classroom call-and-response (“Ladies, what’s the universal rule of thumb? Kill or be killed. Correct”) of “Compass Commands,” the almost happy swagger of “Worried But Not Well.” But it’s the mutating moments in songs like “Opaque/All White” that drive home Worried Wellwith the knockout blow coming in the penultimate track, “Upping the Mandate.” With a retro synth foundation accompanied by Eurythmics-style strings, frontman Haege creates a manic polyphony from the lyrics “Hold / my breath” and “How ’bout, / how ’bout, / how ’bout now?” before barking the words “upping the mandate” repeatedly, then slowly nestling the whole piece into an outro of clean guitar soloing.
Wherever you are, whatever you’re listening to, 31 Knots should be on your playlist. They’re invigorating through and through, and the best is yet to come.