31Knots – It Was High Time to Escape

It Was High Time to Escape

There are so many bands and there is so much music that, as cliché as it may sound, it’s easy for a music fan to think they’ve heard it all. Despite being a relatively young style of music in the grand scheme of things, rock music has been played to death. So the only approach at originality these days is to blend genres, resulting in electronic rock, orchestrated rock, jazz-rock, and other quasi-styles that succeed and fail on the talent and guts of the musicians involved.

The musicians in 31knots blend genres remarkably well. There’s some serious jazz and classical underlying to the guitarwork on this album. The complex rhythms – thick bass and vivid drumming – make this album at home in the post-rock world tred by bands like June of ’44. And then there’s a straightforward rock sound that verges – due, mostly, to singer Joe Haege’s unique style – on a post-hardcore intensity.

31knots’ last album, A Word is Also a Picture of a Word, won me over on the basis of one amazing song. It Was High Time to Escape doesn’t have a single song that blew me away as much as on the band’s previous album, but the songs are consistently strong. There’s no clear winner, but there are some highlights to the album. Vocals layer during the chorus of the rather intense “Darling, I,” and “The Gospel According to Efficiency” has a more simple and pleasing flow to it than many songs here, and the layering of Haege’s vocals is a nice touch.

The vocals on “No Sound” are almost spit out, while “We Still Have Legs” builds to a fuzzed-out frenzy of shouts and angular guitars and drums. There’s a bit of a subtle bass-driven groove to “That Which Has No Name” that goes along with the song’s plodding beat. The song has the album’s most interesting moment: a beautiful little breakdown of acoustic guitar and angelic singing under some distortion layers. The bass drives the subtle “Matters From Ashes” as well, although this song thrives on some interesting electronic elements and quiet, subtle, melodic guitar.

Trying to describe the style of the music performed by 31knots is rather futile. It’s edgy, though, and complex, at times noisy, at times intense. In other words, many fans of pure melody and pop structure will be turned off here, and that’s ok. The trio of 31knots prove they’re more about simple four-minute pop songs. These are impressively deep songs filled with time changes, amazing instrumentation, and cryptic lyrics, and they mark a band at the top of its game.