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31 Knots

The Days and Nights of Everything Anywhere

Polyvinyl

It's hard to believe that bands are still being affected by the post-electro movement in rock that Radiohead wrought with Kid A. It's been seven years, but the reinventions with subtle (and not so subtle) nods to technology just keep coming. Such is the case with 31 Knots' The Days and Nights of Everything Anywhere. Prior to this release, 31 Knots were an untested quantity for me, though I'd heard they were fine math rock act. The roots of those compliments can be heard throughout this album, there are just too many questionable forays into unnecessary sounds. Check the breakbeat that ushers in "Beauty" or the squelching burbles and jagged cut-and-paste flow of "Hit List Shakes," both of which feel like awkward, electronically bent garnish that are woven into the band's template of off-kilter arrangements. There's a fine line between mashed up and messed up. More often than not, the group's experiments fall closer to the latter. Look no further than the ska horns and whistle punctuation on "Savage Boutique" for the worst offender. That said there are some outright winners here and there. "Sanctify," with its looped boiler room percussion and helium-high chorus treads close to Animal Collective's carnival grounds and is by far the leader of the pack. The song's success is a result of the band focusing on writing in one kind of genre instead of spanning the spectrum. If the sonic explorations continue on their next album, let's hope they head in this direction rather than aiming to become math rock's Beck.

Polyvinyl Records: www.polyvinyl.com