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It Was High Time to Escape

31Knots

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Album Review

Portland, OR's 31 Knots unveiled their third full-length album in 2003 with the release of the ten-song It Was High Time to Escape on Michigan's 54°40' or Fight! Records. Leading the Northwest wave of prog-pop bands, 31 Knots continued to impressive with the kind of precise guitar chords and steady rhythms found on the opening track, "A Half Life in Two Movements." That song seamlessly gives way to the frazzled and charming "Darling, I," which offers a staggeringly restrained sound that seems ready to blow up at any moment, yet doesn't. Joe Haege leads the way on guitar and vocals, while bassist Jay Winebrenner and drummers Joe Kelly and Jay Pellicci combine to form one of the more irreverent rhythm sections in indie rock. Kelly left the band soon after the recording of four of the album's songs in 2002 and was replaced by Pellicci, who took over drumming duties for the March 2003 sessions, which completed the disc. Haege is center stage throughout, setting up the disc's highlight reel with unconventional guitar chords, unwaveringly fiery vocals, and continuously challenging lyrics on songs like "No Sound," "We Still Have Legs," and "At Peace." "Without Wine" slows down the album's pace with a reflective acoustic bass dancing with Haege's narrative metaphors. A mesmerizing bassline leads into the entrancing "Played Out for Punchlines," while the unsettling "Matters from Ashes" mixes tender tones and vocals with a disconcerting electronic backdrop. Pushing the envelope of the math rock sound throughout, the band's brash post-hardcore impresses most of all because if its seeming lack of obvious influences. Taking cues from a large pool of bands on It Was High Time to Escape, 31 Knots paints a sound with a wide brush and an array of colors.

Biography

Formed: 1997 in Portland, OR

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

31Knots fuse complex rhythms with jagged guitars for mathematical songs that zigzag through changes and anxious start-stop riffs, calling to mind Sonic Youth, Modest Mouse, the Ex, and even Fugazi's more challenging work. Experimentalists on par with bands like Tortoise, the members of 31Knots stand apart by playing music that is distinctly rock & roll, though not easily classifiable as prog rock or math rock. Guitarist Joe Haege and bassist Jay Winebrenner have been playing under the 31 Knots...
Full bio
It Was High Time to Escape, 31Knots
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