Concrete Knives - Be Your Own King

Concrete Knives - Be Your Own King
Album Reviews

Concrete Knives are a band who can’t quite decide whether they prefer The Maccabees’ first or second album.

Label: Bella Union
Released: 18th February 2013
Reviewer: Alex Yau
It’s unsurprising that the Dø’s Dan Levy took the production seat on Concrete Knives’ debut long player. Like Levy’s main output, this French five-piece, who have wowed audiences with their exciting live shows, embrace youthful exuberance but in a much more hyperactive fashion. With its muggy, lo-fi atmosphere, ‘Be Your Own King’ works best at its most carefree: ‘Roller Boogie,’ a dazzling three minutes something track filled with airy synths, could easily pass off as Modest Mouse’s ‘Float On.’ Further on, ‘Greyhound Racing’ recalls the dirty blues of early Black Keys. But best yet is ‘Brand New Start’, all twanging guitars and cutesy snare rolls from a band who can’t quite decide whether they prefer the Maccabees’ first or second album.

Themes looking backwards to much younger days feature commonly, of course. ‘Bornholmer’ sets it all off by borrowing scuzzy beach-rock basslines from The Drums. The band reminisce about times when people acted so much better (“There was a time where you knew how to be fine,” scream adolescent harmonies led by Nicolas Delahye). ‘Happy Mondays’ – no relation to the Madchester band – paints a scene about life being a trick atop a springy rhythm that bounces restlessly throughout.

The tail end of the record does come to a bit of a standstill. ‘Wallpaper’ recalls the same dull indie of The Phenomenal Handclap Band whilst ‘Africanize’ opens like a parody of Bob Marley’s ‘I Shot the Sheriff,’ not as funny as it sounds. Luckily the thumping stomp of ‘Wildgun Man’ – as restless as a pack of rushing bufallo – and the calm Los Camp!-like closer ‘Blessed’ both offer just enough to stop the second half from becoming too much of a lull. At their best, Concrete Knives are a band filled with boundless and infectious energy and they don’t sound like they’re stopping anytime soon.
Rating: 6/10
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