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Knife Party ‘Abandon Ship’ – Album Review

Big Beat (2014)

Initially conceived as a side-project by Pendulum’s Rob Swire and Gareth McGrillen before becoming a full-time concern in the wake of the drum ‘n’ bass outfit’s 2012 split, Knife Party now showcase their playful side on their full-length debut album, Abandon Ship.

Indeed, the twelve-track affair, which was leaked onto iTunes by mistake two weeks before its scheduled release date, proves that at least a certain section of the EDM scene possesses a sense of humor, with the pair infusing their speaker-blasting brand of electro-house with all sorts of unlikely samples and sounds.

The wailing sirens, propulsive beats and dirty synths of the Skrillex-esque “Resistance” are joined by an excerpt of dialogue from Crocodile Dundee. The glitchy chiptune of “404” is regularly interrupted by the sound of a USB cable connecting to a PC, while the surprisingly funky “Superstar” sees a disgruntled partygoer complain, “What the f*** is this disco s***? What happened to all the dubstep?”

It’s a question many Knife Party fans may be asking once Abandon Ship draws to a close. “D.I.M.H.” begins with a burst of gospel preaching before seguing into a soaring slice of trance-pop; “EDM Trend Machine” jumps on the deep house bandwagon with some old-school vocal loops and the gutsy impassioned tones of I AM MONSTAS’ soulman Bryn Christopher; and there are also ventures into reggae (“Give It Up”), Middle Eastern-tinged trap (“Boss Mode”) and horror movie scores (“Micropenis”).

Swire and McGrillen haven’t entirely abandoned the kind of epic hands-in-the-air bangers which first suggested that there was life after Pendulum. However, as you’d expect, that’s when the record makes a turn for the formulaic, with “Begin Again” little more than a retread Swedish Mafia House’s signature hit, and the generic closer “Kaleidoscope” failing to offer the colorful variety its title indicates.

In the end, Abandon Ship may be just a little too eclectic to connect with Knife Party’s regular fratboy crowd. But its sense of adventure may just earn the respect of those who perhaps dismissed the duo as one-trick ponies first time around.


3.5 / 5 stars     

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About the Author


Jon O'Brien's love of music began as a six-year-old after becoming bizarrely transfixed with the 80s poodle rock of Heart, Europe and Def Leppard. Switching his attention to pop icon Michael Jackson, he then became addicted to the UK Top 40, becoming a rather pointless walking Wikipedia of chart positions in the process. Driving his poor neighbors up the wall while learning to play the drums as a teen, he toyed with the idea of becoming a musician, but in studying Journalism at the University of Central Lancashire, he realized heÕd rather write about music than perform it. Since then, he's written thousands of reviews and biographies on everything from bubblegum pop to death metal, but electronica remains his main passion, with everything from Aphex Twin to Zero 7 in his spare room-consuming record collection. Jon resides in northwest England near Liverpool.

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Posted in: Album Reviews, Electronic Music, Featured


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