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31Knots | It Was High Time To Escape (54º40' or Fight!)
"Prog." Go on, say it; "Prog." Does it seem like a dirty word to you? It certainly was to most of us a while back, but nowadays ?? since Radiohead and Muse have introduced progressive-rock (kinda) to mass audiences, and Cave In and Oceansize have confessed to owning a Pink Floyd record too many ?? it seems perfectly acceptable to confess to an appreciation of on-stage cloak-wearing and twenty-minute-long keyboard solos.
Whilst 31Knots' second LP (the first being the acclaimed 'A Word Is Also A Picture Of A Word') is hardly 'Fragile' or 'Close To The Edge', their wearing of Yes-like influences on their sleeves is apparent from the word go, with the opening brace of A Half Life In Two Movements and Darling, I sounding particularly prog, in an inflatable-pig sort of way. They soon banish the spirit of the 1970s though, with the awkwardly angular post-punk of No Sound gnashing its teeth at the songs that surround it. However, the bass-line alone to the following We Still Have Legs will have your dad rooting through his record collection for 'Brain Salad Surgery' quicker than you can lock yourself in your room with only Minor Threat for company.
You needn't be afraid though, honest. Sure, 'It Was High Time To Escape' does reek of pretension at times, despite the band's occasional lapses into more acceptable, almost shouty post-punk fare, but when the music's as good as it is here, it's difficult not to give the band credit and allow them their pomp.
Lyrically complex, despite vocalist Joe Haege's attempts to simplify his language post-'A Word...', this is a record that takes time to digest, but once it's finally settled you'll be returning to great songs like That Which Has No Name and The Gospel According To Efficiency time and time again. A record that'll please Dischord punks and dad-rockers alike? You bet.

Mike Diver
CWAS #13 - Autumn 2003