There is a landscape on Animal Drowning that Knifeplay are not so much building as revealing to you, bit by bit. The songs are wide and desperate, with their sonic world coming into patient existence on album opener “Nobody” and burning hard on tracks like “Promise.” The music is a way for the shoegaze artists to attach themselves tangibly to the world, as frontman TJ Strohmer writes about his loss of identity, singing, “I am nobody / But everyone I’ve ever met.” The world that he shows you is a terrifying one, full of disillusionment with our modern society: “There’s no such thing as growing up,” Strohmer sings, “Where the evil returns and repeats / Where rivers meet in lakes of mud / And the animals sleep through heat.” And yet the intricacy and empathy conveyed in the musical arrangements allows you to fully indulge in this place for a while, with carefully layered walls of guitar meeting orchestral arrangements, creating a rich, surrounding headspace of sound.
Animal Drowning is the band’s sophomore album and their first recorded in a studio, and they have clearly made good use of these new opportunities. Working together with Philadelphia engineer/producer Jeff Zeigler, who has collaborated with the likes of Kurt Vile and Nothing, the group make their sound fuller than ever before, while still retaining their identity as a band. This is a band who has and will continue to wear their hearts on their sleeves.
Listen to Knifeplay’s new album here, and check out their “Promise” and “Ryan Song” videos, and upcoming tour dates below.
Knifeplay Tour Dates:
27 – Philadelphia, PA @ Ukrainian American Citizens’ Association
04 – New York, NY @ The Broadway
05 – Washington, DC @ Comet Ping Pong
07 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Club Cafe
09 – Chicago, IL @ Hideout
11 – Cincinnati, OH @ Motr Pub