“Hi, we’ve only got these words why are we all/Falling upwards looking down at Hell?/The Devil keeps a close watch on his entryphone/Waiting there for you to ring the bell.” That is the beginning line of the droning introduction turned psych/surf adventure of Knifeworld’s new song, High/Aflame. Whenever I would go for my afternoon walks, I always put on some music to get me going and one of them is Knifeworld’s third studio album on the record label, InsideOut Music entitled, Bottled out of Even.
Kavus Torabi is for me, one of the most mind-blowing musician when it comes to projects. From his own record label, Believer’s Roast, and his work with; Cardiacs, Guapo, Gong, and the upcoming Admirals Hard album, Upon a Painted Ocean coming out this June. And also, as a DJ every Monday night with snooker legend Steve “Interesting” Davis of The Interesting Alternative Show on Phoenix FM in which I consider both of them to be the Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson of playing interesting gems of the sounds of; alternative rock, Prog, Avant-Rock, Canterbury, and the RIO (Rock In Opposition) movement.
But let’s get to Knifeworld’s new album. This is a dedication to the late great Daevid Allen, Nick Marsh (Flesh for Lulu), and a few others who left this earth as their memory and legacy lives on as their follow up to 2014’s The Unravelling which was my album of the year on Music from the Other Side of the Room, shows that Knifeworld are still roaring out the big guns.
Bottled Out of Even is where the band still carry the Alternative, Avant-Garde, Psych, and Progressive approaches to keep the flickering flames going with no sign of burning out. The psychedelia and dramatic yet catchy section of the woodwinds and ‘60s garage-guitar rock sounds of the vision of the future and where will you be with a fortune teller on what will happen with questions and answers in a parallel universe for The Germ Inside.
Jazz-Art Rock comes in with its best as Melanie Woods takes over on lead vocals as Charlie’s Cawood’s Bass lines touches to the references of Herbie Hancock’s golden-era, comes in with a big shebang on I Am Lost while the gothic-acoustic folk tale dealing with a man taking over power as he watches come crumbling down by everything he’s done turned into a nightmare in this mourning kingdom collapsing of his Foul Temple.
I Must Set Fire To Your Portrait sees Knifeworld heading into the styles of XTC’s Nonsuch-era as you can imagine this track being recorded during those sessions in the early ‘90s and I can imagine Andy Partridge being in awe of this track and you can close your eyes and flashback to the year 1992 all over again. The woodwinds and brass section, blare out the eruptive sections as if Kavus is conducting them to show where he wants them lead into.
The rumbling punch of Ben Woolacott’s drumming/percussion set gives it the Indian Tribe and psychedelic swirl of an ambient/atmosphere of travelling into a thumping mid-tempo march of The Deathless. When I listened to this, I can imagine a sense of The Moody Blues’ In Search of the Lost Chord-era of the song, Om. With a touch of Tim Smith into the mix to send you in a journey of the reverb textures of Kavus’ guitar to bring forth the late ‘60s.
Bottled Out of Eden is another inventive follow-up and it shows that they still have the influences where they left off with their second album. Whenever Kavus Torabi is doing other projects, you never know what to expect from what he will do whether it is good or not. But here, it is another proper return of the band to show the Avant-Pop, Progressive, and Psychedelic approach and adding the darker tones that keeps the Knifeworld train going.
For me, I always wanted to wait and hear what Torabi himself will come up with next and maybe he will come up with darker short stories for the next one. All in all, Bottled Out of Eden, is a creative and mind-boggling gem for 2016.