BENT KNEE Remedy Reality With “Twenty Pills”

Only a few years ago BENT KNEE seemed to be everybody’s art-rock darlings, yet then the American ensemble somehow disappeared from many people’s radar – for no reason, really, as they carry on creating riveting music. The Bostonians’ next album – titled “Twenty Pills Without Water” and planned for release on August 30th – is bound to be different from their previous efforts, though, because it’s their first in a new format, as the band ranks fairly recently got reduced from a sextet to a quartet.

With guitarist Ben Levin and bassist Jessica Kion gone, the remaining foursome – singer and keyboard player Courtney Swain, violinist Chris Baum, drummer Gavin Wallace-Ailsworth and sound designer Vince Welch – came up with tighter arrangements that fit the group’s fresh compositions. And this is how they describe the results: “Never coming home – the idea of not being able to return to the way something was – has grabbed hold of our collective consciousness and refused to let go. Perhaps the world is falling apart. Perhaps, we’re just getting older. Whatever the case, the transient nature of life brings about its share of existential crises and nostalgia remains a difficult emotion to shake. It seems only fitting for a band that recently parted ways with two of its members to center our first album as a quartet around themes of anxiety and depression amidst tumultuous change. Influenced by Phoebe Bridgers, Prince, and ‘In Rainbows’-era RADIOHEAD, ‘Twenty Pills Without Water’ is an album full of ghosts and coping mechanisms.”

Twenty Pills Without Water

1. Enter
2. Forest
3. I Like It
4. Illiterate
5. Big Bagel Manifesto
6. Cowboy
7. Never Coming Home
8. Comet
9. Drowning
10. Lawnmower
12. Exit

For the first single/video the group chose “Illiterate” – explaining the song in a following way: “Have you ever found yourself retreating into a fictional world to escape from the brutality of modern existence? ‘Illiterate’ is about the numbing behaviors we deploy to cope with everyday life. The earliest incarnation of the song started as an improvised, boneheaded groove that Vince hated, but once we began to re-orchestrate and iron out the dad rock vibes, it really came into its own. We tried to keep this one feeling live and informal, with Asher Kurtz on guitar and Peter Danilchuk on synth providing brilliant performances and tones that leveled up the track. Courtney has been mildly obsessed with the word ‘goblin’ after stumbling upon the neologism ‘Goblin Mode,’ so this is, essentially, ‘Goblin Mode: The Song’.”

July 6, 2024

Category(s): News

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