Sunday, May 22, 2011

Allayers of Ailing Allies,

As we journeyed to King Tut’s, Glasgow, Ornaments from the Silver Arcade was not included in the large stack of CDs bulging from the compartment adjacent the gearstick. I knew it was a good album but I had been dwelling on other albums and songs lately. The situation was such that I had forgotten how great The Young Knives are and how many brilliant pop songs they have made.

The only support act we witnessed was The Neat. They gave an energetic performance and are well worth listening out for in future. I think they sound a lot like The Fall and, indeed, In Youth is Pleasure could easily be mistaken for a record from the 1970s, because it’s immediately so memorable, it sounds as though it’s been around forever. Hips will be their new single and it too has a really strong sound.

The Young Knives instantly stunned me by opening with Terra Firma; shockingly, I had forgotten all about it. As I had said a long time ago, a football team should have adopted it as an ironic, misplaced chant. I can imagine terraces full chanting ‘Fake rabbit, real snake, terra firma, terra firma.’

In the main, they played songs from the new album and despite my lack of familiarity with most of the songs, I really enjoyed it; the vocals were so clear that songs became instantly accessible. Vision in Rags was one of my favourites; its stepped chorus of ‘Call off the rest of the year, I’ve got nothing to say so I’ll say nothing here…’ emits a sentiment that I often endorse. Love my Name seems more punchy when played live; I almost ended up loving my name. Where Superabundance relied frequently on strings, Ornaments has utilised some House of Lords flash keyboard/synth action and it gives the album its own identity.

The Young Knives are often said to be quintessentially British, perhaps this is a fair comment, but that has to be digested and understood rather than just said. The theme common to most Young Knives songs is struggle and this is what makes it so easy for us to identify with them. Unless we are extremely lucky, we don’t normally enjoy our jobs and the Young Knives have helpfully incorporated our stresses and strains into songs. The Young Knives left some big songs at home that evening; Counters, being one of them, is perhaps the one song that takes this theme to its extreme. There were outings for Weekends and Bleak Days, The Decision and Turn Tail. Turn Tail was the highlight of the gig for me; I sensed that it had grown as a live entity since the last Young Knives show I attended.

King Tut's once again proved a great venue. It's usually always possible to find a spot with a good view, I was quite happy with my initial berth, it was my first choice, however, it was infringed upon. I backed off slightly and was left with an equally comfortable reception area. The night ended and we left to have another one-way conversation with sat-nav, "Speak, woman, speak".

"Woman, stay close or woman, go home!"
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