Be Your Own King

Concrete Knives

Bella Union/Cooperative Music, 2013

http://concreteknives.com

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 03/13/2013

A young indie rock band hailing from France, Concrete Knives mashes the last four decades of underground rock into one glorious display of vivid melodies, pulsating rhythms, and dual gender vocals. Though this might be their debut, it certainly doesn't sound like it; the quintet provides a level of musicianship well beyond their years. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Disc opener “Bornholmer” starts things off right with '80s influenced synth and charming male/female harmonies. It's a joyful, upbeat track and serves as foreshadowing of what's to come. The band does a great job of maintaining controlled chaos: “Brand New Start” sounds like an explosion of buzzing guitars and collective singing. While the first few tracks are wild and driving bits of pop and rock melody, by mid-disc, things do shift gears. “Wallpaper” begins this transition, as it’s a much moodier song than what comes before it. “Africanize” follows and brings the pace to near simmering, and “Greyhound Racing” finds a more art-influenced tone and has a mid-period The Clash feel. Curiously, the instrumental track “Roller Boogie” is included, which might seem odd considering the vast amount of gang vocals used here. Regardless, the folk rock track works well with the massive amount of dynamic songwriting that extend across this listen.

After the furious pace at the onset of the album, the final two tracks are nearly the opposite, offering a more serene effort. “Blessed” ends the party with a bleaker feel, though it's packed with a lot of emotion and fantastic guitar work. It's a surreal, hazy closer and a great way to wind down the energy.

A listen that brings out the brightest moments of twee pop, indie-rock, garage rock, and '80s sensibilities, Be Your Own King is a quirky, dark, vibrant, folksy, and unbelievably creative adventure. Pretty likely we have an early entry for debut of the year.

Rating: A

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