Gentle Knife - Gentle Knife,
After I had reviewed their most recent album, ‘Clock Unwound’ the band kindly sent me a copy of their self-titled debut, which was released in 2015. They were only a ten-piece at the time, comprising Astraea Antal (flute, winds and visuals), Pål Bjørseth (keyboards, vocals, trumpet), Odd Grønvold (basses), Thomas Hylland Eriksen (sax and woodwinds), Håkon Kavli (vocals, accoustic guitar), Eivind Lorentzen (guitars and synths), Melina Oz (vocals), Ove Christian Owe (guitars), Ole Martin Svendsen (drums, percussion) and Brian M. Talgo (samples, words and visions. I said “only”, as for the next release they had gone to 11 (cue Spinal Tap jokes).
As with their most recent album, I am just amazed at how intricate this music is, and how they bring everyone together in a way that makes complete sense without the senses being overwhelmed by the amount of instrumentation involved. Of course, electric guitars and sax should combine repeating the same melody, it provides more force and presence, and allows the keyboards to get on with the job of playing over the top. The arrangements are superb, and somewhat surprisingly, given the number of people in the band, there is a strong sense of space and the need for dynamics. They can be peaceful and laid back, with just rippling keyboards and gentle flute, or they can be doing their level best to blow the woofer out of the speakers. They mix full-blown progressive rock in its truest traditional sense with some psychedelic tendencies to create an album that is immediate, impressive, over the top and that delivers even more each time it is played. Superb.