Gentle Knife – ‘Clock Unwound’ (Bajkal Records) Print E-mail
CD Reviews
Written by Jim Rowland   
Wednesday, 02 August 2017 04:00

Cover photo -  Gentle Knife II - Clock UnwoundThe relentless passage of time is the main theme of ‘Clock Unwound’, the second album from Norwegian progsters Gentle Knife, following up on the self-titled debut in 2015.

 

The band state that the album “delves into lives overshadowed by longing and disappointment. Plans go askew, lovers betray and dreams fade. Yet, as a sense of resignation descends upon a dystopic inner landscape, moments of beauty remain”. Safe to say this is going to be full on prog then, and indeed it is, especially when you consider ‘Clock Unwound’ clocks in at just under the hour mark, and comprises just six tracks, one of which is a short opening ‘Prelude’.

 

Gentle Knife boast no less than 11 members, and the huge variety of sound on this album reflects that. The band have clearly studied their prog history, and the influence of ‘70s greats such as King Crimson, Genesis and Gentle Giant is there to see, but so is the influence of early ‘80s neo-prog pioneers like IQ, Twelfth Night and Pallas, evident on the 15-minute epic title track.

 

Aside from the relatively short opening ‘Prelude: Incipit’, the seven-minute ‘Fade Away’ is the album’s shortest track, but one that illustrates Gentle Knife’s ability to move through styles, from acoustic folk, through funky jazz to dark and heavy prog, and some very early Genesis-esque flute interludes.

 

Elsewhere, ‘Smother’ fuses a lighter pop feel with some brassy jazz, and ‘Plans Askew’ once again illustrates the band’s ability to build from gentle acoustics to bombastic guitar-led prog attack.

 

 

For me, the album is let down a bit by the vocals, which often switch from male to female, have a twee folky feel, and at times struggle a bit in the tuning department. They just don’t meet the standard of the music on offer throughout. This may well explain why the album’s closing track ‘Resignation’, a ten-minute dark epic with hints of the influence of King Crimson, is the best of the bunch here, as it dispenses with the traditional vocal approach and relies on narration, which seems to work a whole lot better.

 

‘Clock Unwound’ is out now. You can get your copy HERE.

 

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