Knife in the Water
Reproduction (Keeled Scales)
Reviewed by Libby Webster, Fri., March 31, 2017
Commensurate with Knife in the Water's back catalog, the Austinites' first studio LP in 14 years takes its time in unfolding. Fifth album overall, Reproduction simmers with the same atmospheric, noir folk and country of earlier releases, led by a handful of players from the original lineup: Aaron Blount's drowsy guitar and voice, Bill McCullough’s pedal steel, and Shelley McCann filling in for Laura Krause on harmonies and keyboards. Singularly focused on heartbreak and disappointment in all their capacities, it's lyrically accessible in its melancholy. On "Sweet Gene," Blount croons, "There's a version of you in my memory where kindness kills off every cruelty." Off-kilter stories remain as well. "Sex Change" plays out in a fever dream, Blount recounting the memory of someone walking down Riverside Drive doused in gasoline, noting, "All you or I knew was to suffer." Closer "I Can Go On," the shortest track, plays almost out of place with its twangy acoustic guitar and bop-along melodies, but serves as a fitting closing. The narrator of Knife in the Water emerges from the bleakness of Reproduction, scathed but triumphant.