It’s odd to think that Knifeworld have been around as a band for about the same length of time as this very mag. Knifeworld appeared in our midst with The Wretched Fathoms on issue three’s covermount CD and before we knew it, they were in our pages and here to stay.
Releasing records via frontman Kavus Torabi’s own label Believers Roast since 2009 – a single, debut album Buried Alone: Tales Of Crushing Defeat and two EPs – Knifeworld were snapped up by InsideOut for last year’s Prog Award-nominated The Unravelling. Torabi now finds himself a chap very much in demand, featuring in both Guapo and Gong, and partnering best pal Steve Davies every Monday night for an Interesting Alternative radio show. With their next record looming on the horizon, this is good time to clear the decks and get the elusive, out-of-print stuff in one handsome triptych package: “The album that should have been,” Torabi says. Abandoning chronology, he’s opted to open with 2011’s Dear Pilot, the familiar keystones of Mel Woods’ soft, agile vocals, Chloe Herrington’s magisterial bassoon and sax, and Emmett Elvin’s bright key flourishes illuminating some barrelling, no-nonsense baroque agit-punk, with the XTC-psychedelic, shanty-swinging Dear Lord, No Deal bringing up the rear (admiral). Clairvoyant Fortnight’s poppy, soothsayer-sceptical vitriol skips past In A Foreign Way, another woozy, oceanic track that then retreats for debut single B-side Happy Half Life, Dear Friend. Shadowy and lulling, this is a gothic connector to The Unravelling’s unsettling score, backed up by the nervy, percussive avant-prog of multi‑part highlight The Prime Of Our Decline. But a savvy Torabi leaves the best till last as HMS Washout chucks us back out to sea again over 14 minutes of jazzy tumult and bubbling RIO exposition. Mostly we’re waving, not drowning – no life jacket required.