March 23, 2006

SXSW Report #10: The Young Knives @ the Parish

I have a friend in Norwich, England to thank for turning me on to the Young Knives. She sent me an mp3 of “Decision,” the song that they’re most famous for in England, and it made me want to hear more. They play the kind of upbeat, strummy and tuneful guitar pop that the writers at Pitchfork would label as “post-Wire.” However, the limitations of their power-trio format keep their songs from being as dense as those of Maximo Park or the Futureheads. Guitarist Henry and bassist House keep their instrumental parts rather simple, which puts the spotlight squarely on their contrasting voices. Henry sings in a high-pitched wail, whereas House employs a deeper croon that occasionally shifts into a brusque bark. Their set consisted mainly of songs from their two most recent EPs. Stand-outs included “Weekends and Bleak Days” and the title track of their most recent EP Here Comes the Rumor Mill. Their performance was great until “Decision,” during which Henry’s voice started giving out. Shortly thereafter, a string broke and knocked his whole guitar out of tune. Like a trooper, he stormed through the song with no loss of enthusiasm. They ended their set before anything else could go wrong, which was probably a smart move.

No comments: