Bent Knee
Land Animal

01. Terror Bird
02. Hole
03. Holy Ghost
04. Insides In
05. These Hands
06. Land Animal
07. Time Deer
08. Belly Side Up
09. The Well
10. Boxes

Chris Baum – violin, vocals
Jessica Kion – bass, vocals
Ben Levin – guitar, vocals
Courtney Swain, lead vocals, keyboards
Gavin Wallace-Ailsworth – Drums
Vince Welch – sound design, production

Bent Knee (2011)
Shiny Eyed Babies (2014)
Say So (2016)


Album Art by Riki Nitabaru

Released 2017-06-23
Reviewed 2017-07-12


Land Animal is the fourth album by the sextet from Boston who has taken the name Bent Knee, a democratic musical collective that sounds unlike any other. Land Animal is an album that I should like, an album that has been praised by plenty of reviewers all around the interweb and their creativity is certainly exciting, and they offer something that sounds unlike anything we have heard before. Their music can be said to be avant-garde, minimalistic pop/rock music with influences from all over the place. It is difficult to describe in words how they sound, the female lead vocalist has a characteristic voice and seems capable of singing in many different ways with plenty of variation. Variation is a thing this album has plenty of, songs of different character and songs that take the band in a direction that is unlike most stuff released today. I think that will have to do as a general description of Land Animal by Bent Knee.

Furthermore, I can add that the production is good, I like the soundscapes they paint through their music and I like how they strive to make music that is their own and that they are not just cloning what others have done many times before. They certainly deserve praise for their creative approach and that they keep it fairly short and to the point with ten tracks and 51 minutes of music. I should also point out that this is an album that requires time and patience; you can’t just play it once if you want to get to know it. I think you need to spend in excess of 300 minutes if you really want to start to get on top of all the twists and turns, surprises and stuff this album has to offer. And the one question that comes to mind then is whether or not it is worth the time to sit down and listen to an album for that much of your time.

To be honest, more than 500 minutes of Bent Knee still has me at arms length. The album is good, the songs are good but I should like it better and I find myself not really warming up to this album. It doesn’t quite grab me, it is interesting from a creative standpoint but after repeating the album more than ten times I start to wonder if that is all it is. I think there is something missing, and I think that something is direction – the album feels like a mishmash of influences that doesn’t quite get anywhere. They should take their creativity and infuse it with direction and they would have a decent winner here. I think that the track called Holy Ghost is the highlight for me, especially the vocal part. The album then ends rather drearily in the track called Boxes.

My lasting impression of this album is that I should have liked it better, or it should have been better. Good, but lacking is what I think now that I play this album for the final time, and I doubt I will ever play it again in my life – it is a creatively exciting album with some great touches. But the creative side isn’t all, an album also needs some kind of direction, a unifying feature that makes it all fit together and I cannot find anything like that when I listen to this album. Lets just call it a solid effort.




Label: InsideOut
Three similar bands: Björk/Jefferson Airplane/King Crimson
Rating: HHHHHHH (4/7)
Reviewer: Daniel Källmalm

läs på svenska