The harmony that 31 Knots create purely through the vocals of Joe on the disc’s first track “City of Dust” are perhaps one of the most inspired openings to a disc I’ve ever heard, a fact that is further verified when the second set of vocals joins in. This particularly impressive brand of harmony does not peter out when “City of Dust” ends; rather it increases to a fever pitch during “Hearsay”, where Joe’s vocals reach the limit of their ability. In the few years since 31 Knots released their “Curse of the Longest Day”, they have been able to direct their sound into a much more mature beast.
During tracks like “Intuition Imperfected”, 31 Knots draw on influences as wide-spread as Against Me!, Queens of the Stone Age and The Who, to make something brilliant in just three and a half minutes. Even incorporating a musical brand of increased harmony during times on “Talk Like Blood”, 31 Knots give their listeners a tremendous amount of ways to become inculcated with the band’s sound. 31 Knots has brought a slightly lighter brand of rock to this disc, but one can make the case that the average level in which the band commits itself to disc is much higher than on the previous EP. Much like the instrumental that broke the disc into two sides on “Curse of the Longest Day”, “Interlude” allows listeners to cleanse their palette and eagerly anticipate the second half of the disc. Each of the tracks on the second half of the disc bring a sort of urgency to “Talk Like Blood” that was not anywhere as pronounced on the first half of the disc.
This move keeps listeners’ interests from flagging, and really ratchets up the tension (as the piano-guitar struggle on “Proxy and Dominion” indicates. The increased presence of the aforementioned piano really begins to tie the disc together around the “Proxy and Dominion”/”Talk Like Blood” point of things, with the nice result of making listeners crave completion. This form of release is not given until the final track of “Talk Like Blood”, at which point listeners can do nothing but restart the CD. The music captured is such a perfect example of rock, pulling the most heavy of its influences from the psychedelic rock movement of the sixties, and this formed album (rare enough in this current period) is the pinnacle of 31 Knots.
Top Tracks: Busy Is Bold, City of Dust
31 Knots – Talk Like Blood / 2005 Polyvinyl / 4 Tracks / http://www.31knots.com / http://www.polyvinylrecords.com / Reviewed 17 July 2005