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Knievel - Name Rings A Bell

  by Malcolm Carter

published: 14 / 11 / 2002

Knievel - Name Rings A Bell
Label: Select Label
Format: CD


Immaculate and totally unique dreamy pop on third album from Sydney-based trio, which grows with each subsequent new listening

A new name to me but this is the Sydney based trio’s third album following on from their first, ‘We Fear Change’ in 1995 and their second release, ‘Steep Hill Climb’. Hearing this album for the first time and having no idea what to expect was a real pleasure. It’s also a nightmare trying to convey the sounds they make, as the music they make is pretty much unique and comparisons are pointless as no other group comes to mind that make such a dreamy pop sound with fragile vocals and subtle melodies. These are songs that, although sound appealing on first listen, only reveal their full beauty on subsequent listens. There is so much texture woven in to these songs, there is something new to discover with each play. Wayne Connolly (guitar, vocals and keyboards) has a fragility to his vocals, which helps to make the sound so distinctive. This, coupled with the dreamy vocals of Tracy Ellis (bass guitar, keyboards and vocals), make the sound of Knievel incomparable. Completing the trio, who have played as Ken Stringfellow’s (Posies) backing band, as well as supporting him and Luna, Teenage Fanclub and The Pernice Brothers on tour, is Nick Kennedy on drums. This is an album that sounds as though it was intended to be listened to as a whole rather than just the odd track here and there. Each song flows effortlessly into the next one. It doesn’t sound like a bunch of songs that were just collected together to form an album. I’m not calling it the dreaded concept album. It’s just that the songs all have the same mellow feel to them and sound like they belong together. It’s an album I’ve always had to listen to all the way through from start to finish. I’ve never had the urge to skip a track and have never only listened to a few tracks at a time. The first minute of the opening track, ‘Don’t Explain’, sets out Knievel’s stall nicely, with electronic effects and a nagging guitar line before the dual dreamlike vocals of Connolly and Ellis come in and then it is difficult not to stay for the whole 48 minutes. It’s an album that takes the listener on a journey. With its gentle, addictive melodies it is, however, maybe not the best album to listen to if you’re actually driving. It’s so easy to be captivated by these well produced pop songs that have a sound of their own that whatever the rest of the world is up to around you goes by unnoticed. These mellow guitar/keyboard based songs are best listened to when you can let them take over and take you on their own journey. Pick your favourite chair, stick on the headphones and let Knievel take you on their own special trip. It’s definitely a late night / early morning album. It has not once failed to put me in a good, relaxed mood and taken me to far off places. But all of this mellowness should not be taken as dullness or monotonous. We’ve probably all put the headphones on late at night and listened to some music to take away the day’s troubles only to wake up some time later. But this album is so compelling in its mellowness, nodding off is not an option. Apart from the stunning melodies the lyrics also capture the imagination. One of the standout tracks, ‘I Keep On Waiting’, contains such lines as “I stay up late, still can’t escape from the places we left long ago”. Connolly’s plaintive vocals really hit home and it has a melody so beautiful it almost hurts. It’s good when one discovers an album or a band, even if they have been around for a while, and is completely blown away by the music especially when it is so unexpected and sounds like something new. All of the eleven tracks here are so much more than good well crafted pop music. Knievel have created something special. So special it’s impossible to pick out a favourite track and to do the songs justice on paper. Strong lyrics, strong melodies. Immaculate. What more could we ask for?

Track Listing:-
1 Don't Explain
2 We Can Identify
3 Thoughts In A Pattern
4 The End of Trying
5 Chance Meeting
6 Guesswork
7 Faces on the Journey
8 I Keep On Waiting
9 Need To Know Basis
10 Who's On My Side
11 Find The Sun

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