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Voices of Animals and Men by The Young Knives

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Reviewed on 2nd September 2006.


Voices of Animals and Men

By The Young Knives

On the face of it the casual observer may assume that The Young Knives are just another overnight arrival from The Futureheads' pressing plant, but how wrong they would be. Toiling up the long slope to success rather than casually finding it in their pocket one day, The Young Knives are fully deserving of the praise being lauded upon them. In fact had it not been for the endless hours (nay years) spent journeying up and down the country playing to crowds who were more interested in the price of a pint before turning up bleary eyed for work the next day, then Voices of Animal and Men might not have been so splendid. Those skills learnt in adversity have been fully applied in 14 of their finest ditties. Sure, as an album a great debt is owed to the likes of Blur, XTC, Supergrass and the likes, who have previously ploughed the furrows peculiar only to English bands celebrating the idiosyncrasies of Anglo-guitar pop. But The Young Knives offer it up with such happy abandon you can't help but welcome them into the club. The jerky pop singles "The Decision", "Weekends and Bleak Days", and "Here Comes the Rumour Mill" all sound as marvellous as ever. But now add to these such wonders as drum breaking opener "Part Timer" in which the repeated chorus of "I was bored" will find a place in the heart of every office worker. The band's key weapon of finding a pop melody in the everyday lyrics and then sticking a perfect vocal harmony on top is rightly well used. See "She's Attracted To" with its monster chorus of "You were screaming at your mum, while I was punching your dad" with references to fights on the drive under the security light. It's hard to conceive of anyone else other than a band brought up in the mundane surroundings of an English childhood, coming out with such lyrics.

Gang of Four's Andy Gill is on knob and slider duty and as expected his obvious areas of expertise such as face punching drums and twanging bass are well exploited, but it is actually on the subtler tunes that he shows some perhaps unexpected talents. "Another Hollow Line" is a superb love song without ever once reverting to schmaltz; "Tailors" is an inventive aside celebrating a dying profession with a Theremin; while "Loughborough Suicide" is a glorious call to arms for those depressed with their local town.

There will be few better albums than this released this year and with their current touring schedule looking as if it will never end, there is a good bet that the word will spread rather quickly. Bravo and again bravo!



All replies to this article. Log in to post a reply.

On 4th September 2006 at 16:23 Anonymous 5643 wrote...

Agree. Maybe not a ten, but a charming album nonetheless. One of the most inventive of the year.

Looking forward to seeing them live.


On 4th September 2006 at 17:36 Anonymous 332 wrote...

I also agree. I would give this 9.5 out of 10 but only because I know that some of these songs would have been EVEN better if they had stuck to the original arrangements as on their self-released 'Nolens Volens' album of a couple of years ago. 'In The Pink', 'Tremblings Of Trails', 'Coastguard' and even 'The Decision' original versions were all far better - it seems that Mr Gill has cut out some of the best hooks and choruses from these songs which is a bit frustrating. Still, even with the 'dumming-down' of some songs, this record stands up as a pop classic I think. Fantastico.


On 5th September 2006 at 09:07 Anonymous 30 wrote...

Get you with your insider "my brother and I know them" knowledge...oh lah di dah



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