Book Of Knots - Traineater
For those of you who read my review on The Book of Knots first self-titled aka Crumble, release, none of what I'm about to tell you should shock. That's right the random coupling of talented musicians from all corners of the industry have come back together to make another album. This time in conjunction with Arclight Records, ANTI- has decided to back these freakish chords of unique metal on their latest release, Traineater.
Last time around, this band of Brooklyn, NY based musicians focused their album's concept on the nineteenth century fishing industry, and it was not near as bland and predictable as it may sound. This time around, a concept of similar historical impact bleeds from their creative juices. The quickly forgotten rust-belt ERA in cities such as Cleveland, Toledo, Detroit and Youngstown.
Let's get straight into a song worthy of introducing your friends to, Hands Of Production. A terrific up tempo on the strength of twang like bass, and devilish acoustic fretting is backed by The Book Of Knots signature violin and voice sampling work. Of course the voice sampling pays tribute to those of the aforementioned era of steel fabrication, and its workers. This song is a very fitting start to an album of unique instrumentation.
Violinist Carla Kihlstedt is the perfect vocalist for this effort, once bringing in a severely respectable set of lungs most would find comparable to that of Bjork and PJ Harvey. For instance, Where'd Mom Go, starts with an accordion and a softly spoken vocals, and other than the occasional piano key, never really goes anywhere from there. But that's truly what sets this record apart from pop America. There's no need for a format of traditional rock and writing style. The entertainment lies in your understanding for outside the box
Track eleven Salina, is a long winded bellowing of vocals, and guitars that will grab anyones short attention span with its aggressive but subtle chord changes. Red Apple Boy is something more of a traditional verse, chorus, verse stepping slightly on a sharp little tones, and a lazily sung lyricism.
The title track Traineater begins with the usual soft steps of a highly tuned lowly fretted acoustic blend, and a spoken word. The chorus is sung is gorgeous melody, and the rhythm can be easily stamped into your brain long after the song has stopped. Next up is Pray which features new labelmate, indie king, and Mr. rust-belt vocals himself, Tom Waits. Though a bit repetitive, a very enjoyable beat which may also haunt you after its conclusion.
For those looking for the gorky metal twinge they displayed on their first album, Pedro To Cleveland has the gorging bridges you're looking for, and a vocalist featuring of yet another grimey indie king, Mike Watts. On songs like Third Generation Pink Slip and Boomtown a new sound that I don't remember from their last can be heard. Kind of like jumbling Nine Inch Nails, and The Butthole Surfers.
As for the concept and some lyrical hints, tracks like View from the Watertower, Hewitt-Smithson and Walker Percy Evans High school feature voice samplings and spoken word contributions that may shed some light as to their message here.
Okay, it's gonna take a history buff friend of two to explain songs like The Ballard of John Henry, but The Book Of Knots have done an impressionable job once again, recording music of random and unprecedented awkwardness and belief. Like I said before, far from pop America, this is a no holds barred attempt and re-rooting metal. Worth a listen...
01. View From The Watertower
02. Hands Of Production
05. Pedro To Cleveland
06. Red Apple Boy
07. Where'd Mom Go?
08. The Ballad Of John Henry
12. Third Generation Pink Slip
14. Walker Percy Evans High School
Other guest appearances;
The Book Of Knots are;
Tony Maimone (Pere Ubu, They Might Be Giants, Bob Mould, Lucinda Williams)
Carla Kihlstedt (Tin Hat Trio, Tom Waits, Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, 2 Foot Yard)
Joel Hamilton (Elvis Costello, Unsane,Frank Black, Sparklehorse, Shiner, Players Club)
Matthias Bossi (Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, Skeleton Key, Vic Thrill)
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on 2007-06-27 hstisgod Said:
Definitely agree, psychedelic is a word I couldnt seem to come up when writing either review, though I have to say, Traineater was a lot more psychedelic than s/t. Either way, an enjoyable catalogue from a band that is follow the Star Wars theory. Their plan has always been three and out. So look for the next and alleged last album to be a huge story to sew everything together. More importantly look for that labum to mince both these together. Think Anit- got on this ship (laughing at my pun reference from the first album) just in time.
on 2007-06-27 dscanland Said:
I've just been spending some time with Traineater, the latest from Book Of Knots. I didn't really pay attention to your last review Brian but their signing with Anti- really caught my attention. Their music is fucked up and I like it. It has a lot of a psychedelic feel to it, in and out. But quite listenable when you get over it the first time. These guys are veterans and it shows itself here on Traineater. Give it a chance if you're looking for something a little different.