Boston’s Knot is a new group that emerged from the previous lineup of Krill. Members Jonah Furman, Aaron Ratoff and Ian Becker added Joe Demanuelle-Hall to reinvigorate their sound with a fresh overhaul. In some respects, Knot is an iteration of Krill but with a larger, more restrained sound. The addition of a new member on guitars has added a layer of depth that the band plays around exceptionally in this debut offering.
One of the strengths of Knot is their use of math rock stylings in a slow and controlled manner. There are no sections of self-absorbed noodling or incessant sweep picking to be heard here (which can be good, if not overdone). Instead the guitars play a complementary role, acting as a backup voice to enact the moods that vocalist Jonah Furman expresses in his thought-provoking lyrics.
The album opens with a celebration for the band’s new direction. Aptly named “Fallow” the term refers to the practice keeping a field empty during one season to prepare the soil for the next. The idea is to let the land recuperate for a better future harvest. Furman declares : “Now I’m back / Now I’m ready / To return”, and hearing the results, I can’t help but agree.
Tracks like “Foam” and “I Live in fear” share a poignant look at social and political issues. The former is filled with the frustration that global warming is happening all around us and there’s not much we’re doing about it. The latter is about the unnerving feeling of having untrustworthy authorities looming above us, ready to enact their so-called justice to anyone they deem guilty. Both are embellished quite well with riffs that support and embellish Furman’s vocal delivery.
The band also infuses art rock into their songs. “Horse Trotting, The Feet Not Touching The Ground” is an ode to a sculpture. Angular riffs paint a picture of a trotting horse, with its erratic rhythms and odd phasings that illustrate the movement of the figure along with its composition. The closing song “Space and Time” is a trippy psychedelic space odyssey that yearns to break free from the tethers that keep us grounded on earth.
Knot is a tightly woven feast of an album. There is not a wasted second in these 9 tracks that add up to 30 minutes. Their sound is distinct and captivating, a good middle ground between indie and math rock that feels uniquely theirs. It’s astonishing what they’ve accomplished in their first offering. Fans of Krill should despair no more, they are back in even better form.