How I had never heard of Knifight before, I do not know. Their recently released first full length album – Dark Voices – is ridiculously good. It’s dark and it’s dreamy. Rolling bass, smartly placed guitar, shadowy space-horror synths, and the incredible voice of John Gable make up the dark-wave sounds on this record. Gable’s voice is calming, seductive, gloomy, thrilling and mystical all at the same time. My attention was captured largely by his voice in the first few songs on the album, but it becomes even more addictive as the record plays out, adding a certain “bad-boy” edge to his vocals towards the climax in certain songs such as “Cosmonaut” and the title track “Dark Voices.”
I must have had the track “Cosmonaut” on repeat for upwards of thirty minutes, at least. With the addition of a soothing saxophone countered by Gable’s shouting vocals at the climax of the song, I found this track to be especially addicting. It begins minimalistic, but soon the full sounds of the band come in and make it impossible not to want to dance. The lyrics remain on the darker side though, with Gable singing lines such as “Will I ever again see the ones that I love?/Will I ever again be anything at all?” and “My world is fading away/Swallowed by the dark.” Another track that stood out to me on Dark Voices was “Whisper Room.” Another dark yet danceable track, it also includes some sexy saxophone playing. This one will make you want to press repeat as well.
Considerably darker than their previous EP’s, Dark Voices has a very Eighties sound – the electro-dark-wave obviously calls back to bands such as New Order, Depeche Mode, Joy Division, and Bauhaus. It is, however, not a copy-cat sound. Knifight succeeds in bringing in these influences without sounding like an Eighties band’s “younger brother.” Their updated sound stays fresh, and is in a style that has the potential to gain a lot of standing in the Austin music community. I can imagine Dark Voices spinning in a dimly lit downtown club, where it would be too easy to lose yourself in the music and dance all night long as if you had taken a time machine back to 1985.
Knifight are definitely making a name for themselves, and they deserve to be both seen and heard. You can order Dark Voices on CD or vinyl or purchase a digital copy through the band’s bandcamp. Go support them live, too! They are known for their energetic live performances, so catch a show and see for yourself – they have their album release party this Saturday, June 8, at Red 7 along with Night Drive and Borrisokane.
– Brittany Bartos