The best music is always truly indefinable. Words can’t truly describe Tom Waits’ caterwaul the same way they can’t explain what it feels like to experience the deafening volume of a J. Mascis guitar solo. Portland, Oregon’s prolific 31Knots have described their sound as “post-apocalyptic Vaudevillian punk,” and while that’s an apt description, it doesn’t begin to express the level of demented-pop brilliance on the band’s latest full-length, The Days and Nights of Everything Anywhere.
Not only did 31Knots pull it off with Days and Nights of Everything Anywhere, but thanks to an expert mixing job by Deerhoof’s Greg Saunier and engineering by Pellicci, they transformed their musical landscape into a skewed fantasy world located somewhere between Alice In Wonderland and Cursive’s Happy Hollow. “The Savage Boutique” is a horn-driven pop masterpiece that slithers along like the beast the lyrics describe; “The Salted Tongue” features a sing-along so memorable that it should be illegal; and the alternately glitchy and giddy six-minute “Hit List Shakes” sounds like Captain Beefheart recontextualized as experimental indie rock. The Days and Nights of Everything Anywhere is enchanting, otherworldly and, yes, idiosyncratic, but it’s also a bold new direction for a band you may have written off as something completely different. Sure, art is hard, but for 31Knots it’s harder to stagnate. When Haege sings, “We are now close to world renowned for doing none other than what we’re told,” on the staccato interlude “The Days and Nights of Lust and Presumption.” It’s not empty boasts; it’s the truth. Don’t you owe to yourself to find out why? -Jonah Bayer
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