kNIFE & fORK – The Higher You Get, The Rarer The Vegetation (The Bureau)

Multi-instrumentalist Eric Drew Feldman, known best for his work with Captain Beefheart, PJ Harvey and Frank Black, along with Laurie Hall of Ovarian Trolley fame again join forces for the second release under their kNIFE & fORK moniker. Receiving gushes of praise from Rolling Stone and PJ Harvey herself, the duo bring about a kind of familiar psych-rock music strained through the abstract sieve of 20th Century art-music composers to craft a haunting medley of punkadelica and flippant experimentations. The Higher You Get, The Rarer The Vegetation takes it's name from a Salvador Dalí quote – and when your mere title is taken from one of the biggest names in surrealism, you know the album is going to be... something else.

Released Jul 19th, 2012 via The Bureau / By Larry Day
kNIFE & fORK – The Higher You Get, The Rarer The Vegetation (The Bureau) 'Tightrope' is a Machiavellian cavalcade of unnerving vocal palettes and menacing synthetic brass. At the same time as sounding like the soundtrack to an abandoned ghost train, it manages to be a fleeting moment of utterly magical wonder because even though it's a mishmash of flailing instruments, the sweeping melodies save the track from the brink of avante-garde horror. Grungey effort 'Tailspin' buzzes along as if it were ripped straight from the back catalogue of Frank Black and his cohorts, though it also features a distinct dark cabaret essence, with swooning 'oohs' in the backing vocals and sultry, dramatic lyrics.

Punk-rock (a term used loosely, as much of the album resists any traditional genre) effort 'Pocket Rocket' is poppier fare than the rest of the LP, with vibrant hooks and radio-friendly guitar chords chugging along behind slinky brass riffs. Digital blips cut in briefly, looking to add a striking splash of modernity, but jarring somewhat against the backdrop of moody wailings. 'Nicotine' could be the swan song of a fallen Disney villain, with strong theatrical vocal lines and repetitive semi-vamping on the somewhat forgotten accompaniment. It's a lavish carving of melodrama, bitter and tempestuous, but still family-friendly.

Given the background of Feldman and Hall, one might expect a release from them to be a lot more 'out there'. While it still features a healthy amount of experimentation, and the usual avant-garde garage-rock, it feels reigned in and like the pair could've got away with being a whole lot weirder. However, it's a darn enjoyable record containing many standout tracks – be sure to catch ten minute saga 'The Revelator'- and a host of technically flawless performances. A wholly majestic record, though probably not one you'd listen to after a hard day at the office.