Union Of Knives – Violence & Birdsong (Scotland Week)

Union Of KnivesSo I’m back after ma weddin’, had a good time but I’ve spent a busy couple of days at work. It was good seeing my mates again for the first time in over a year. My mum and dad were there too, so it was nice to hear some Scottish accents. They also brought me over some CDs I’ve been looking for. I’ve finally got my filthy mitts on the new Aereogramme album (more of which in the coming week), but I also got the debut album by Glasgow electro-rock, three piece Union Of Knives. The drummer-less trio formed and fronted by Chris Gordon and Craig Grant, with Aberdonian Dave MacLean backing them up. The band are multi-instrumentalists and Violence & Birdsong is their surprisingly upbeat first album.

When the term “electro-rock” is thrown about, people usually equate it to Nine Inch Nails or Massive Attack’s darker moments. Violence & Birdsong comes from a different angle: it reminds me of a lot of 1980’s lush, synthpop bands, like Talk Talk and Depeche Mode. There’s a warmness to the electronic elements, the same thing I get from Boards Of Canada albums. There’s none of the dark sensuality of say, She Wants Revenge. Even the lead single “Evil Has Never” has a danceable beat and swooning female vocals. The muted strings on “Lick Black Gold”, give of a vibe of distortion, of late nights breaking into day.

If there’s flaws with the album, it’s that it could maybe do with being a bit dirtier and rougher round the edges. That’s a personal thing, I like it when beautiful sounds and melodies are scuffed up a bit. The only other thing is that no track sprung out as being brilliant. Maybe that’s a sign of the strength of the album as a whole or something else. But whatever, there’s not a bum track on the whole CD. That’s an achievement: even the short instrumental tracks are pleasant. The closing track “You Better Keep Me” is a shimmering, melancholy track that somehow manages to rise up and sound bright.

Union Of Knives – Evil Has Never:

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