Monday, September 19, 2011

Album Review: Andrew Jackson Jihad - Knife Man

It would be pretty easy to just tell you to go get Knife Man right now. I mean, it would make my job so much simpler, because really it's simply essential 2011 listening. However, for those not easily convinced, I'll delve into why Andrew Jackson Jihad have crafted what is quite possibly their greatest achievement. Added to that, Knife Man is without a doubt one of the most exhilarating, enjoyable, and positively fascinating records this year.

Andrew Jackson Jihad have always been a charming band, if not a little callous and rough around the edges. Yet that's what's so endearing about the folk-punk act. Unlike their peers, AJJ deal with unconventional subjects, often detailing more subversive ideologies an thoughts. They approach their music with a devil-may-care attitude that's seldom seen these days, and each release is all the better for it. This is where we get to the crux of Knife Man. Lyrically the album is brilliant. It's bizarre, uncomfortable, and uncompromisingly ugly. It delves into the more unsightly aspects of humanity; how we treat each other and how truly can be despicable creatures. Added to that, the self-proclaimed "American" band oft hits the nail right on the head, particularly with "American Tune," in which Sean Bonette exclaims "I'm a straight white male in America, I've got all the luck I need!"

It's safe to say that lyrically Knife Man is simply exceptional. Yet there's a rather wonderful musical backbone to the album as well. Although the band is quite small (a duo, really), they still manage to make one hell of a big sound. Whilst mainly a folk affair, Knife Man also includes quite a bit of electric guitar. Add in some awesome percussion work, and you've got yourself a bold, exciting sound that makes the album an absolute joy to listen to.

Well we've got an excellent band singing about some unconventional but wholly intriguing themes. Great, right? Well it gets better, because AJJ have filled Knife Man with 16 incredible tracks. Each varies in length and sound, making the album ridiculously diverse in execution. Truly, this is the reason to check out Knife Man. It's fantastically pleasing upon first listen, and with so much content, it's conducive to replay after replay.

Knife Man is wonderful. Period. Fun, chaotic, beautiful, ugly, and completely loveable, Andrew Jackson Jihad have really hit one out of the park. Be sure to check this little gem out. After all, it's simply some of the best stuff you're likely to hear this year.


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