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Bent Knee - Say So CD (album) cover


Bent Knee


Crossover Prog

3.89 | 172 ratings

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Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer
3 stars This might have been the most anticipated album for me in 2016. I remember putting it on for the first time and listening, just hoping I wouldn't be disappointed, and the first two tracks certainly impressed me but it was very much hit and miss after that. This has to be the most bombastic band out there these days, and when your "over the top" like that your going to be awesome to see live no doubt. Courtney's vocals that span every emotion you could think of and Ben's instrumental work and composing skills will make this a band to be reckoned with for many, many years. I just found this latest album "Say So" to be in the same style as the great "Shiny-Eyed Babies" including the subject matter(relationships from a woman's perspective) only it really does pale when compared to an album that I consider to be a top three for 2014. They do have a lot of ideas here so yes there's lots here that impressed me but also lots that left me unfulfilled to say the least. It's rated right now around number 50 on the Gnosis site which I would say is about right.

"Black Tar Water" really starts things off well as we get keys and reserved vocals to start. I do like those vocal melodies that Courtney uses a lot more of on this album. Drums after a minute as she starts to sing words again. More vocal melodies then a calm before it starts to build, even the vocals are more passionate. Another calm later with whispers ends it. "Leak Water" is another highlight and it opens with a guitar line that is joined by vocals then a catchy beat. A calm 2 minutes in as sparse keys, guitar and vocals come and go until it kicks in hard. It settles back and check out the emotion after 3 1/2 minutes. Great section!

"Counselor" is a disappointment. I'm just not into her vocal style although I get why she's singing that way considering the subject matter. Atmosphere to start as violin, piano and guitar join in as it builds until the vocals arrive. Here comes the bombast both vocally and instrumentally. There's even a CARDIACS-like section after 2 1/2 minutes. A cheeky tune but I'm not into it. "Eve" is the longest track at over 9 minutes. It also opens with a guitar line like an earlier track as vocals and more join in. I like how the lyrics are accompanied with dissonant sounds instrumentally. A massive drop of sound before 2 minutes that shakes the soundscape, like a bomb going off. A calm with reserved vocals follows then it picks up later before 4 minutes with vocals. Not into this then more power arrives around 5 minutes as we get insanity for a minute as she starts singing again amid the dissonance and atmosphere.

"Interlude" is less than a minute of atmosphere and guitar expressions. "The Things You Love" features heavy sounds as multi-vocal melodies join in. A calm follows as reserved vocals and keys take over, mellow. Sparse keys, violin and percussion take over then back to the relaxed vocals and sound. Some vocal melodies later and they will build in sound to the end, not a fan. "Nakami" opens with laid back piano then vocals before a minute, guitar too. I like the vocals here. The strings become prominent. It does get fuller and even more so after 3 1/2 minutes with the focus on the vocals. Love the deranged ending.

"Commercial" has a pretty bad multi-vocal intro before a challenging instrumental section takes over then the vocals kick in with passion. It's kind of funny before 3 minutes with the violin and sound. I love the haunting ending, more please. "Hands Up" might go down as the worse so called Prog song that I've heard in 2016. Really? Can anyone tell me that this is not pure shit? So commercial and vocal driven. Losing credibility here. "Good Girl" ends the album and it's somewhat dark and slow moving to start with guitar as reserved vocals join in. Strings before 3 minutes then it turns louder after 5 minutes with more depth as the vocals continue. It's spacey late to end it.

Man there are a ton of guests helping out, I counted close to 40 who add vocals, horns and strings throughout this album. Huge disappointment for me but I know I'm just one of many who feel let down here. I'll stick to the hair- raising "Shiny-Eyed Babies" but will for sure keep tabs on this talented band.

Mellotron Storm | 3/5 |


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