Monday, December 9, 2013

Single Review: Survival Knife-"Divine Mob" b/w "Snakebit"

Survival Knife is not Unwound. Yes, two former members of that band are in Survival Knife, and Justin Trosper sings here as he did there. But from the first notes, Survival Knife has an entirely different energy to it, something not necessarily catchier, but less intense; almost as if they were less darkened by the world around them. It feels

I think what Survival Knife is trying to do most of all, though, is be as unpredictable as possible in their songs. Is the song settling into a nice post-punk groove? Let’s throw some metallic power chords into the mix. Is the song dissident and grungey? Bridge the next section with unexpected melody and strangely pleasant guitar riffs from out of nowhere. That at least is how “Divine Mob” works. While always working from a chuggy, low-end heavy sound as the base, the song never loses a sense of drive, whether during the sludgey verses or the frantic, knotty guitar riffs that make up the intro and outro (all of which really show off the band’s use of interweaved guitars).The band shifts between multiple tempos, keeping anyone listening on their toes as to which direction the guitars will shoot into next. All the while, Tropser keeps the contrast steady, lurching between anger yelps during the songs slowest parts before becoming collected and almost melodic during the most manic sections.

“Snakebit” is even more frantic, this mesh of creepy crawly guitars that fall over each other in an attempt to get a sound out with the rhythm section adding to the tension by never losing pace with the rest of the band. Vocal duties are handled by bassist Meg Cunningham here, who’s delivery manages to be both intense and on the precipice of becoming demented. Which happens to suit the song perfectly, as it veers from its interlocking tension to a noisy build up that releases at just the right second, never becoming too chaotic and losing itself. Everything about “Snakebit” (and “Divine Mob” as well) speaks to the fact of how pinpoint accurate these songs are; music that could only be made by pros who knew exactly what they wanted to do and how to do it with those around them. There was a two year hull between Survival Knife forming and them properly releasing material. Hopefully there won’t be as long a wait for more songs as good as these two.


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Buy the new Survival Knife 7" here, from Kill Rock Star

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