[18th February 2014]
02. Burn This Rock
03. Point Of No Return
04. My Demons
05. Hidden By You
06. You Are Your Only Bystander
07. Drag Me To Hell Pt. 1
08. Drag Me To Hell Pt. 2
10. Specular Twin Diadems
11. Sun Reader
12. Soothin’ Myself
According to their bio, Milan’s Knowing2Fly have been a band since 2008. In the six years since formation they have released one EP, and now their debut album, Here On My Feet, is due for release this month. In trying to find the aforementioned EP I stumbled across some pictures on their Facebook page showing the booklet from the EP. All the tracks on the EP are on the new album and herein lies Knowing2Fly’s biggest problem: the songs sound as if they were written by a group of high school dudes who just got their first expensive amp/drum kit/guitar and were so excited to play their riffs loud and fast that they forgot to pay attention to the songwriting.
One must wholeheartedly disagree with their bio; nowhere to be found were there either “captivating melodies” or “classy arrangements”. The vocals are not the only thing about this release that this critic couldn’t enjoy, but they were definitely the most cringe-inducing aspect of Here On My Feet. Cheesy modern rock, when performed well and with tongue firmly planted in cheek is highly enjoyable (see Steel Panther and Airbourne), but when it is made with unintentional cheese it falls well short of a fun listening experience.
“I’m a rocker. I hate pop. I hate everything that sounds soft.” were the first lyrics I heard as I pre-empted listening to the album by checking out the promo clip for “Burn this Rock”. By the end of track six of I had come to the realisation that it was the vocals that were making it hard for me to keep listening. They don’t feel genuine; the intended emotion seems put on, and the placements are at times amateur. Phrases are squeezed in and rushed just for the sake of keeping some lyrics. It’s as though they had the songs written and ran out of time so just kept the vocals that were possibly used as demos. More restraint in terms or lyrics and phrasing and a whole lot more aggression would have been far better suited to the music.
The guitars are definitely the strength of the band both in terms of production and talent. Although the majority of the riffs are rudimentary, straight forward rock, there are a few interesting parts; the last 1:20 of “You Are Your Only Bystander” is intriguing and the last minute of “Sun Reader” has a Helmet-like riff which is a breath of fresh air amongst the rest of the standard rock fare offered up. The vocals are not present thankfully, and these sections show some promise for the future.
Unfortunately these redeeming segments are too few, and are spoiled quite badly by poor song structures. The majority of the songs are broken into parts, whether intentionally or unintentionally, so that by the time I had made it four songs in I thought I was at track seven. There are a couple of clumsy ballads thrown in – a contradiction to the earlier claims that anything soft isn’t welcome. “My Demons” sounds like a bad Avenged Sevenfold cover band covering a bad Guns N’ Roses cover band; the riff transitions are again what you might expect from a high school band just starting out. Ballad number two “Drag Me To Hell Pt. 1” has a nice enough guitar line but the wailing vocals again ruins it. The song fades out very abruptly as if they ran out of ideas and just said “How about we try something weird and zany and not finish this song properly?”
As “Drag Me To Hell Pt. 2” kicks in I am shaking my head as to how these songs are even remotely linked. The vocal line “There’s something trying to swallow me down” seems to be the only link between the two songs, and must I say at this point in proceedings I wish there was some way I could be swallowed down away from this experience. “Unhitch” is the most musically interesting track on the album with some nice interplay between the guitars and piano, but again the poorly executed vocal patterns/melodies get in the way.
Knowing2Fly can obviously play, they just seem confused as to what type of band they want to be. Too many songs merely fade out at the end, have riffs just slapped together without a thought as to whether they flow, and a lot of the tracks feel unfinished. I enjoyed the slower, more ‘experimental’ sections of the album as they felt far more natural than some of the awkward rock songs. If Knowing2Fly were to focus on this and less on the need to ‘Rock’ there may be a chance they could write some decent stuff.