What a week for inventive Philadelphia bands dropping albums outside the standard Friday release cycle. Monday it was woozy surrealists They Are Gutting A Body Of Water with Lucky Styles. Today it’s recent Band To Watch honorees Knifeplay with sophomore LP Animal Drowning, one of this year’s best releases in any genre.
Knifeplay’s take on dream-pop can be grand and almost orchestral, as on opening track “Nobody,” which builds to a finale where the keyboards soar like a symphony. They can also be hushed and ghostly, as on advance track “Ryan Song.” They don’t forget the “pop” side of the hyphen — “Lonely Sun” is phenomenally hooky even when waves of static come ripping across the mix — yet the same song that’s as hauntingly gorgeous as Cocteau Twins ends up as crushingly heavy as Nothing. There’s a lot more than just ethereal texture happening under the surface here.
As promising as it was, lead single “Promise” did not prepare you for how beautiful and invigorating Animal Drowning can be. Taken together, it’s just a spectacular collection of music, and you should immerse yourself in it below at the first opportunity.
Animal Drowning is out now on Topshelf.