Crash of Rhinos released their second LP through their bandcamp on July 22, 2013. I know this because since then I’ve listened to the album almost daily, often times more, the past 36 days have been filled with Knots and I’ve loved every second of it.
It all started when I luckily (or perhaps unlikely, given how much of my time it’s commanded) saw a Topshelf Records blog post hyping up the new album, CoR is from Derby, UK and Topshelf had signed the band for a US vinyl/CD release, while Big Scary Monsters and To Lose La Track were handling the UK and Italy releases respectively. Looking at the bandcamp tabs I saw “emo, indie, math rock, post hardcore, punk”. I liked what I saw, emo and punk are two genres I really love listening to when put together, and math rock is not a genre I’m well versed in but certainly one I’m intrigued by; Satisfied, I played the first track. On my first listen I was completely blown away, the album was a complete anomaly yet made total sense. I wasn’t quite able to put into words why it stood out so much, and how it felt very torn but together, but I loved it so I didn’t really care.
A months worth of listening later, I finally feel I can elaborate: Knots sounds like it was written through guidelines, as if the band met up together to record a song and the only beforehand practice they had before jumping in the studio was a group discussion about where they felt like the direction of the song wanted to go. However (and this is going to be harder for me to describe) the album doesn’t feel jumbled or out of sync, the album feels masterfully crafted, as if the band members are all on the same next-level wavelength. The album feels like a collaboration made by the best of friends (who all happen to be insanely talented musicians, some of the members of CoR also played for The Jesus Years, and The Little Explorer just to name a few).
Yeah okay the music sounds “whole” I get it, but is the music good? It’s amazing. Probably the best description of the album—and of the music of the band as a whole—can be found on their bandcamp page, which says “Five voices, 2 guitars, 2 basses and a drum kit.” I can not begin to stress enough how important “five voices” is, I just can’t. Listening to them all shouting and singing creates a truly wild mix of feelings; There are times where you’ll feel empowered, times you’ll feel scattered and off-balance, and times where you’ll feel violently unashamed, even when you know you have nothing to be ashamed about. That last one may seem like some interesting word choice, but really the only explanation I have for it is that maybe you’ll feel it too when you listen to Knots. The album features some really gorgeous guitar work too, CoR employs just enough math rock to leave you in awe of every riff, but not too much to take your attention away from the vocals and drums, which, by the way, will have you struggling against the urge to play the air kick drum.
Boy I certainly have talked this album up huh, thankfully you don’t have to take my word for it, you can find it at the Crash of Rhinos bandcamp, where you can stream the entire album!!! Additionally you can download their first LP absolutely free (which is also incredible by the way, definitely worth a listen or two (or three)) just click on Distal under the discography section. Hope you enjoy it as much as I have.