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Bent Knee - Land Animal CD (album) cover


Bent Knee


Crossover Prog

3.83 | 74 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

5 stars Boston-based many-dimensional progressive rockers BENT KNEE are back with their fourth album. This one feels less hurried and far more mature than their previous effort, 2016's Say So. This is a band that is not only clicking on all cylinders, it is composing and playing at such a high level that it often takes many listens to hear all of the band member's contributions. That is one reason why this June release only receives my review posting in November.

1. "Terror Bird" (4:11) Great opening song! Opens with a weave of staccato sounds coming from many instruments-- a feature which turns out to be the foundation for all but the choruses when chords and volumes amp up. The use of strings in support in the second section and choruses is a nice effect. Courtney's voice is as dynamic and under- the-skin insistent as ever. Awesome! (9/10)

2. "Hole" (3:21) quirky and industrial, combining some 80s and 90s sound styles with an almost Oriental melodic palette. The music could even befit a soundtrack to a Japanese animation. But, once again, the lead vocal brings us back to Kansas. (or is it Oz?) Another instance where I am dumbfounded and astounded at this band's creative expression. (8.5/10)

3. "Holy Ghost" (5:33) amazing song construction, vocal, and drumming. This band is so tight! (9/10)

4. "Insides In" (6:29) a much more sedate and smooth opening feels and sounds good for a change. Courtney opens with a bluesy/torch song vocal styling--carrying it forward into the chorus--before piano and strings bridge us back to the A section. Strings, piano, and drum incidentals are so marvelous! Such a polished, carefully planned and executed song. This band is so at their peak! I would love to hear more music like this from them. The second half of the song has us waiting suspensefully before a series of dramatically-spaced and wonderfully effective monster hits from guitar, bass and drum bring us fully into the cinematic prog world--which only continues as the music ramps up to a kind of crescendo of sustained tension before collapsing into odd animal-industrial sounds. (10/10)

5. "These Hands" (5:36) opens as if bleeding over from the previous song but then deftly, easily, switches into an entirely different kind of music and song. Pizzicato strings and jazz percussion support Courtney's jazzy piano and vocal. Truly a stunning song of highly complex progressive rock music. (10/10)

6. "Land Animal" (5:13) opens with a very theatric, cinematic pomposity. Vocal chorus joins in the second round, then things quiet down for the entrance of the lead vocal. The quiet spacey "sending out a message" section in the third and fourth minutes is my favorite part. Then a strings-supported true electric lead guitar solo! (A rare thing for this band!) Nice section. (9/10)

7. "Time Deer" (4:19) a fairly straightforward rock start becomes complicated by Courtney's vocal, and the slightly off-center syncopation of the guitars, bass, strings and drums. Interesting. Courtney's vocals are so powerful that I fear that we come to take them for granted: she is always amazing and, I believe, inimitable (and this despite my deafness to lyrics and their meanings). (8.5/10)

8. "Belly Side Up" (4:15) such a different song--could come from the 1940s or 50s with its poppy effects, sharp orchestration, "old" guitar sound, and, of course, "school girl" background vocal choir. (8/10)

9. "The Well" (5:30) a song that, unfortunately, feels like we've heard it before ("Holy Ghost" and "These Hands"). Luckily, I love the sassy-seductress vocal. (A little Piaf?) The second half with its interplay of polyrhythms is very cool.(8.5/10)

10. "Boxes" (12:44) opens like a Peter Gabriel soundscape. Awesome drum, bass, and atmospherics. Courtney's voice enters at her most seductive. The song floats along like as if we're laying in a boat looking at the night sky while riding the softly rolling waters of the lake/harbor beneath us "I made it to the twenty-first century" is such and awesome line! Percussive and tuned and computerized incidentals pepper, dot, and streak the instrumental sky between vocal sections and to the end where Gavin's rock-steady, impeccable beats play out far into the finish. What an awesome song! What an awesome end to the album! (9.5/10)

Five stars; another masterpiece of truly progressive rock music from these young masters of 21st Century art.

BrufordFreak | 5/5 |


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