Bent Knee, the musically well-read sextet of Berklee alums, assault and caress the listeners' ears at the same time with their amalgam of bombastic, epic rock, classical music, electronic, and operatic stylings. They also might be playing at a haunted carnival from what I can tell. There is a palpable push and pull between the many personalities in the band.
For all the seriousness with which their music is imbued, they are a light-hearted bunch. They recently made a stop in Portland to record some demos for an upcoming third album and they were kind enough to allow us to showcase a few of the tracks on Sessions From The Box.
Their second album, the self-released Shiny Eyed Babies, was a revelation. As guitarist Ben Levin explains, the album showcases "the youthful wonder you can bring into even the darkest times and then pull out all these great musical pieces even though all the songs are so sad. They're so pretty and shiny."
Drummer Gavin Wallace-Ailsworth continues, "I had a very happy childhood, yet I spent a long time as a Smiths fan. I think there's something about music that's inherently sad that ultimately is kind of uplifting. It allows for rumination on problems to try and improve a situation."
The band has made several trips to the City of Roses, three of them for very special shows that I used to produce at the Hollywood Theatre called Organ Grinders. Bands would select their choice of a classic silent movie, then write and perform their own original soundtrack live to the film as it played at the theater. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea and Metropolis (watch the trailer below) were their choices. Clearly the darkness is their home.
1. "The Councillor"