Well, unlike most bands I write about in this section, Swedish experiment-pop duo, The Knife, would probably prefer to be ignored. They have the media-phobia of Terrence Malick, but sure enough, they do qualify as excentric geniuses. Just like they don’t care too much (or at all) about promotion, they are really not trying to please anyone else but themselves. Karin Dreijer Andersson and Olof Dreijer create a new, experimental brand of pop, that is as catchy as can be, but still strange and eluding mainstream. Pass This On, from sophmore album, Deep Cuts, will make you understand better what this is all about. The steel-drums hook will make you wonder why does this sound so familiar (it’s a normal reaction to songs you’ll love for the rest of your life), while the voice, the lyrics will conjure a fascinating uncomfortableness, convincing your mind that there is something wrong here, but you can’t help closing your eyes and falling in the melodic whirpool of this weird pop. It’s a rather instinctual review of a song, I know, but that’s the way this Knife ‘cuts’.
It’s still unclear what kind of music does Califone play, but it doesn’t really matter as long as it sounds like this wonderful song, Bottles & Bones (Shade & Sympathy). This Chicago outfit of proggies dable in some sort of experimental folk, mostly acoustic, but also with some electric shades here and there. They seem like a bunch of guys who work the fields the first six days of the week and then, on Sunday, they gather on someone’s porch and start jamming. No commercial pressure whatsoever – absolute freedom. And Bottles & Bones (Shade & Sympathy) sounds exactly like that. The emotions which transpire through this song are 100% sincere, musically that is (the ooohhh’s of the chorus will make you ponder on your existential loneliness, wherever you are). The lyrics outline a strange universe, dangerous and degraded: “Nervous john, Rescues all the whores” (Taxi Driver ???), “Aching to get your pocket picked” or “Clouds of angels liquored pink and underage”. It kinda sounds like Kurt Cobain faked his suicide just to retire somewhere with no electricity and release unrehearsed songs under the name Califone. Still, the song was written by Tim Rutili, the founder of Califone. In case it sounds familiar, you should know that Bottles & Bones (Shade & Sympathy) was featured on the Will Ferrell movie Stranger Than Fiction, contributing like 60 % to the film’s profoundness.
The only good thing that came from watching a lame movie by the name of Stealth was that I heard this song, Bug Eyes by dredg, lost somewhere on the end titles, if I’m not mistaken. dredg are regarded as some kind of experimental band, probably because they sometimes use a slide guitar (like on Bug Eyes) and the drummer, Dino Campanella also plays the piano. They seem to have the destiny of some crazy prog-rock outfit, but their music is actually very accessible and melodic, as you can hear in Bug Eyes. The song even has some of that urgency, common to the most popular emo-alternative bands like My Chemical Romance or 30 Seconds to Mars, but Gavin Hayes doesn’t sound like a child trying to sing black metal. Lyrically, Bug Eyes is quite abstract, but the chorus does conjure some 2001: A Space Odyssey images: “Your journey back to birth is haunting you, it’s haunting you,
Your departure from the earth is haunting you, it’s haunting you”. There is a lot of emotion in this song and it does sound natural, not induced by the band’s genre.