Knifeworld - Dear Lord, No Deal (Believers Roast)

Knifeworld's new EP holds out the promise for so much more to come.

Released Aug 8th, 2011 via Believers Roast / By Paul Robertson
Knifeworld - Dear Lord, No Deal (Believers Roast) Giddy as a child hopped-up on sherbert fountains, Knifeworld wildly leap, lurch, lunge and frolic their merry way through Dear Lord, No Deal in a fashion thoroughly befitting a band lead by a member of Britains premier Pronk (Prog/punk, duh!) band, Cardiacs. Kavus Torabi, for 'tis he, played guitar with the band from 2003 until the ramifications of head honcho Tim Smith's massive heart attack and stroke in 2008 meant that the band effectively ceased operations as of mid 2010, for the forseeable future.
Tragically underappreciated, particularly in their home country, Cardiacs were one of the most quintessentially British bands that could possibly be imagined, providing a musical blueprint for Britpop superstars Blur to boot, albeit a significantly simplified one.

So it is that Torabi presents this EP, the follow-up to Knifeworld's first record, Buried Alone: Tales Of Crushing Defeat, and the first recording to feature a full band line-up, as opposed to Torabi and a few helping-hands. Wasting no time at all, opening track 'Pilot Her' is a full-on blast of lunatic, herky-jerky punk rock with the added touch of organ and horns, just like Cardiacs. Heck, Torabi even sounds like Tim Smith, albeit sweeter in tone. But lest it appear that Knifeworld are mere Cardiacs imitators, think again! Torabi has merely learned a great many lessons from the great Mr Smith, and many of Cardiacs most endearing traits and tricks have rubbed off on him, as they are bound to over time.

The oddball time-signatures are there, as is the punk rock influence, but with Knifeworld is seems that the rough is rougher, and the smooth is smoother – witness the title track, 'Dear Lord, No Deal' itself, a shimmery, summery piece of pop psych with a bittersweet edge that only fleetingly touches base with that Cardiacs feel and tone and has more in common, it would seem, with Syd Barrett's lysergic whimsy, and closing track 'HMS Washout' moves into a more abstract tonal space in which the air around the notes is just as important as the notes themselves. Herein, Knifeworld most resemble the more baroque moments of avant-Dada-proggers Sleepytime Gorilla Musem, stretching out into near-atonal chamber music areas of musical tension.

A great deal of musical ground is covered across the three tracks on Dear Lord, No Deal, more than some bands ever manage to cover across an entire career, yet none of it is pretentious or po-faced. The sheer exuberance and joy that Knifeworld project, even whilst navigating the trickiest musical passages, beams right out of the speakers and cannot help but infect the ear of the listener. Yes, vast swathes of music are heavily explored herein, but it is clear from this all-too-brief taster that the scope of Knifeworld's exploration is vast, and there is so much more to come.