Exposé Online banner

The Knells — II
(Still Sound 002-2017, 2017, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2017-11-22

II Cover art

One thing that is sorely lacking in most current progressive rock is any semblance of real originality. What we hear mostly are bands trying to re-create the glory days of the sound as it was defined in the late 60s and early 70s, or taking that sound or something like it and dumbing it down in order to make it more listener friendly, removing its edge. When bands like King Crimson, Gentle Giant, Jethro Tull, Van der Graaf Generator, vintage Genesis and Yes made a record, you knew it was them without being told, they had their own sound that was uniquely theirs. The Knells, led by composer and multi-instrumentalist Andrew McKenna Lee from Brooklyn, NY is one such band, unique in many ways, defining their own vision clearly among all others in any genre. So what makes them so unique? The band features five instrumentalists, including McKenna Lee (guitar and electronics), Paul Orbell (lead and slide guitars), bassist Joseph Higgins, drummer Jeff Gretz, and Jude Traxler featured on percussion, Rhodes, and electronics. What is most unique and unusual about this band is that all the vocals are arranged for a three part female vocal chorus (Blythe Gaissert, Charlotte Mundy, and Nina Berman), and indeed, while there are a couple instrumental tracks, the bulk of the album’s ten cuts are vocals, organized into two side-long suites that flow together beautifully. Lyrics are very thoughtful, delivered in an almost medieval chorale style, and the instrumental support is a solid art rock in service to this huge vocal presence. Lyrics are printed in dark red on black on the inside of the CD tri-fold, maybe the limited edition vinyl edition is somewhat easier to read, but either way the words are worth following along. All taken, Knells II, like its 2013 predecessor, is a unique and highly emotional recording that sets new standards for originality.


Filed under: New releases, 2017 releases

Related artist(s): The Knells

More info
http://theknells.bandcamp.com/album/knells-ii

Latest news

2018-02-18
Didier Lockwood RIP – Word reaches us today of the death of one of France's great jazz musicians, violinist Didier Lockwood. His playing bridged many worlds, from traditional jazz to fusion to progressive rock, and his talent can be heard on recordings by Magma, Clearlight, Pierre Moerlen's Gong, and many more. Lockwood was 62. » Read more

2018-02-15
10 Years of Fruits de Mer - The Incomplete Angler – Those of you who are faithful followers of Exposé will know that we have been promoting Fruits de Mer and its side labels and releases from nearly its first year. Now music journalist and author Dave Thompson has written a book chronicling the past ten years as a celebration of this milestone. » Read more

2018-02-14
Tom Rapp RIP – Singer / songwriter Tom Rapp, best known with the band Pearls Before Swine, passed away on February 12, at the age of 70, after a battle with cancer. » Read more

2018-01-30
Bill Bruford Ventures into Uncharted Territory – Drum master Bill Bruford, veteran of some of the most creative bands in history (King Crimson, Yes, Genese, etc.), is sharing some of what he's learned about being a drummer and a musician in his new book, Uncharted: Creativity and the Expert Drummer, out on University of Michigan Press. » Read more

2018-01-18
Christian Burchard RIP – Multi-instrumentalist Christian Burchard, who founded the seminal band Embryo in 1969, has died at the age of 71. His January 17 passing was announced on the band's Facebook page. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Radio Massacre International - Rain Falls in Grey – I was initially concerned that my lack of experience with RMI’s back catalog might be a hindrance to writing a useful review. I needn’t have worried, since this release is a drastic departure from...  (2009) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues