1) Take Me There
2) When In Doubt
3) Milking It
5) The Ship
6) Carrie’d Out
The David Bowie Knives’ six-song EP Milking It packs a disorienting punch. Their brand of smoky indie rock n’ roll (self-proclaimed “sexrock”) works to overload your senses, each track compressed and over-modulated as if purposefully creating the sound of cassette tapes which have been digitally rendered.
And this is absolutely not a bad thing, as we see in opening track Take Me There. Sludgy, distorted guitars trip over each other’s reverb and are backed by comparatively structured drum tracks. The powerful lead vocals hold an unpolished, raw quality which pairs well with the staticky fuzz emanating from those guitars.
When In Doubt veers into the territory of beachy swagger rock. Catchy riffs and chorus melodies grate against the deliberately compact walls of the song, generating a distinctly 80s brit rock feel not dissimilar to that of Mancunian legends The Stone Roses.
In the vein of the heyday era of brit rock, it would be criminal not to mention the glaringly obvious rockstar elephant in the room. Perhaps I am biased by my love for the Thin White Duke, but whilst listening to Milking It I do hear a shared vocal characteristic between David Bowie himself and Shaun of the Knives– namely, high notes featuring short bursts of vibrato and twangy, open mouthed vowels. Unintentional? Probably. A compliment? You bet.
The acoustic Love pares it back, allowing for more instruments to stand out from the heady buzz of earlier tracks. With beautiful chorus and backing vocals, the Knives tap into a gentler, ethereal, more romantic side of things by showing that sexrock can be more than just a lusty endeavour.
The Ship is teeming with psychedelic flourishes, percussive spaceship-esque sounds laced with cosmic bending and winding of those distorted electric guitars. But this isn’t a Space Oddity knock-off; balladic keyboard elements add a touch of arena rock texture, and it’s here where the drums get to truly shine as the emotive current which buoys the song.
Carrie’d Out, with its wild west cowboy treble, is a thinly-veiled middle finger to the socio political tensions which Hong Kongers have rallied against over the past two years. With lyrics such as “There’s no doubt/sold me out”, it’s clear that the guns-blazing standoff inferred is none other than the citizens versus the city.
A smorgasbord of nostalgic, scuzzy rock tunes and biting social commentary, The Knives leave no holds barred in their impressive latest collection. Check them out on Bandcamp for more!