The Young Knives

SXSW showcase reviews

Live Shots
Photo By Mary Sledd

The Young Knives

Parish, Wednesday, March 15

Ever felt like you were Mark E. Smith? Didn't think so. Still, the Fall frontman and sporadic football announcer for Score was here in spirit via UK's the Young Knives. It can't have been easy growing up in in a musical landscape that suddenly seems dominated by the overriding shade of Smith and New York City's '79-'82-era, with its dark overtones grimly determined to reassemble rock & roll from the shattered shards of Britpop and post-punk. That said, these Oxfordians, led by streety, adenoidal vox populi Henry Dartnell, summed up the situation in opener "Weekends and Bleak Days." Clad in sweater and pinstriped ties, Dartnell's visceral, shouty chorus of "Hot summer, hot, hot summer" echoed not only the Parish's sweaty vibe, but may as well be Austin's post-spring anthem. While their stage presence was something less than electrifying, the Young Knives more than made up for with that Smithian brillance, leveled by a melodic, strangely dark guitar squall, thick, meaty drumwork, and the slender bassline of single "Kramer vs. Kramer." With the lyrical smarts of Smith and company hanging over the show like funerary crepe, and the occasional chiming guitar strike echoing Interpol's more lucid moments, the crowd, already primed by special guest the Chalets, lapped it up, this new wave of Britain's finest, darkest brew.

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