By Andrew Fleming
With Knife Party’s first EP in four years, it’s ironic given the name Lost Souls because, except for its titular track, this release misses the beat in terms of the act’s signature character.
The Australian duo, consisting of Rob Swire and Gareth McGrillen of Drum-and-Bass band Pendulum, have performed with Swedish House Mafia, Steve Aoki and even Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello, so this act is not shy of pushing boundaries and experimenting with sounds that at first may seem conflicting, but overall are curious and intriguing.
There is a lot to enjoy in this 15 minute spread, but for die-hard fans and general EDM listeners, it may seem surface level and particularly confusing.
The EP opener ‘No Saint’ explodes with a gorgeous and massive house track, but one that quickly gets repetitive and genuinely could be produced by anyone. Not to suggest this track is not enjoyable, but it seems very much that the duo have switched on auto-pilot and taken recline as this track plays on their Digital Audio Workstation.
The titular track ‘Lost Souls’ is brimming with suspense and the charismatic documentary storytelling, which helped tracks like ‘Centipede’ solidify the duo’s uniqueness in the EDM scene. This throwback to the 2013 dubstep scene is the peak of the EP and shows that the pair are still able to create a gritty and boisterous track many years after the trend has ended.
The closest the EP comes to sounding like signature Pendulum is on ‘Death & Desire’, with Harrison delivering a strong vocal performance which creates a humble electro-house and funk-induced track.
This lends itself, however, to making you wish you were actually listening to Pendulum. Serving as Zane Lowe’s Hottest Record in the World right now on BBC Radio 1, this emphasises the tameness of the track and transcends into what Knife Party offered before, as generally NSFW music. In this sense, the track could be seen as lacking.
The closing track ‘Ghost Train’ is where the duo perhaps pushes too many buttons. It is irritating due to a surreal bass section which, at the longest track length of the EP, has you wondering if Knife Party had actually deafened themselves with their own track.
There is a lack of flow here, potentially on purpose, given the act’s edginess in their discography to date. The release could have easily been split into four separate single releases.
An enjoyable, if manic listen, but one that just cries for the duo to return to Pendulum, as this is a side-step for which it seems that not even they know where to go.
Featured image credit: EDM.com