Plainly stated, 31Knots has not moved in a new direction so much as they have ripened to full maturity, evolved into the creature they’re meant to be. Previous efforts – Talk Like Blood (2005), Polemics (2006), The Days and Nights of Everything Anywhere (2007) – are just as tightly wrapped, just as fierce and incendiary. But something is different. A devout fan can sense a noticeable return to the songwriting approach first displayed on their Curse Of The Longest Day EP (2004), which began their creative ambition to achieve a more fluid marriage of synthetic sterility and intelligent organic rock, unafraid to temper themselves with grooves that threaten to linger and moments that are built up to unfathomable heights. There are still ferocious starts and stops and tire-screech changes as songs defy all convention. There are still ominous loops of atmospheric hums and drones. There is still an admixture of anger, pomp, and theatricality as singer/guitarist Joe Haege shape-shifts between preacher, warlord, and sideshow barker. But something is different. Something here is new. It deserves to be called out as thought provoking and well written music in a time when substance is quickly giving way to music of commerce and palatability.
Just as there is no easy ways to sum up the band itself, it is equally as difficult to pinpoint the emotions and message of their songs. There are no easy answers. In fact there may be no answers. One side says opaque, one side says all white. We are powerless in the sea of such a fragmented and fractioned world. Drowning in contradiction. Deaf to the sounds of ice sheets falling. Blind to the abstraction of death on a massive scale. Steeped in neurosis, memory and insecticide we are equal parts urgency, immediacy, fear, despair.
But let not such blackness scare you: 31Knots has long gravitated toward the darker underbelly of the modern era, but the darkness is tempered by seeing the songs live. The songs must be not merely heard, but experienced. Only then will you grasp that these songs are a conduit for Haege along with Jay Winebrenner’s slithering bass, Jay Pellici’s pounding insistent drums – to humanize the bleakness. Their live show is a constellation to navigate by. A positive to trump the negative. No one leaves the room unaffected. There is no band like 31Knots and Worried Well finds them at the full height of their powers.
Listen to “Compass Commands” from Worried Well: http://www.polyvinylrecords.com/media/prc-155-09.mp3
31Knots On Myspace: http://www.myspace.com/31knots