Knifeworld’s 2009 debut Buried Alone: Tales Of Crushing Defeat signalled the arrival of a band cast very much in the kaleidoscopic tradition of the Cardiacs – giddy time signatures, complex structures, more ideas per square inch than most bands pack into an acre. Or, as their MySpace page so neatly put it, a sound like ‘paint hitting the cathedral wall’.
Leader and songwriter Kavus Torabi has previous form as guitarist in the Cardiacs, alongside a whole bunch of other projects that include North Sea Radio Orchestra and Chrome Hoof, which of course can only be a good thing. And while we eagerly await Knifeworld’s in-the-works second album, this four-track EP will do very nicely as a taster for what is to come.
There are two stabs at the title track – one a radio edit, the other an extended take – marked by a vaulting sense of musical ambition that finds Torabi and ex-Cardiacs singer Melanie Woods trading vocals over deliciously knotty rhythms, dissonant riffs and a chorus with a killer hook. It’s all breathless stuff, underpinned by a beefy melody.
In A Foreign Way is similarly breathless, while The Prime Of Our Decline injects such busy avant-pop with a splash of baroque psychedelia. Stupendous, in a word.