Union of Knives – Endless From The Start

Union of Knives – Endless From The Start
Abby Duran June 11, 2021
After a 14-year hiatus, Scottish natives Chris Gordon (Baby Choas), Peter Kelley (Ladytron/The Kills), and Ant Thomaz (Dope Sick Fly) team up with the lady of Ladytron, Helen Marnie to gift us Endless from the Start.

“There's A River" starts as a subtle early sunrise with synth flickers yet quickly met with melodic electric strings. An echoing shout of “running outside myself" sums up the blurriness between dreams and reality. A deep fogginess of bass holds up the distorted spoken word, cymbals, and underground elements of pipes and pops. This illusion of dreamy dystopia melodically returns to a soft fade of warmth. 

It's clear with “High on Account of 0" that reality has settled; yet, there are clips of another dimension–blurbs of static, staccato basslines illuminating every echoing step of the human voice. Thomaz's voice is the confident conscious guide breaking the bonds of spoken word tonality. 

Imagine a multicolored sky signaling the sun's arrival. Now cue nature's winged singer-songwriters matched with the subtle yet powerful Thomaz, and you have “A Moth That Found A Flame." Like his verses, the guitar comes in faint yet establishes dominance as the lyrics become more transparent and the spacy elements come into fruition. The electric drum beautifully builds into the climax as rounds of sharp drops note possible touches of the flame. Elegantly faded into an acoustic guitar arrangement, Gordan's production skills are strikingly harmonious with the glitchy bass background. 

There’s no fake fable in “A Tall Tale" regarding Ladytron’s Helen Marnie’s interpretation. Her sound undeniably in sync and could replace the instrumental chorus. This upbeat yet mysterious production holds playful electronic specks positioned at various moments of the track. Although the wondering message here is “who I am," doesn’t seem to confuse the listener as it’s more of a powerful statement of acceptance among this sometimes fairy-tale we call life. 

“An Animal" opens with Kelley’s bold, brisk drum sticks disguised as a heartbeat accompanied by staccato breaths, mimicking a four-legged friend on the run. The lyrics narrate the sensation of transforming into a wolf, “barking  at the stars/growling at the moon." This musical journey outlines the rabbit hole of possible hallucinations of a trippy scenario. Kelley keeps up with the musical discourse of the heart during an out-of-body experience.

Still on cue with animal themes is the hypnotic “Like Butterflies," featuring the talents of Dope Sick Fly’s Ant Thomaz. Producer Chris Gordan sums up this track flawlessly, “it purrs away with a groove that weirdly is reminiscent of early Talking Heads and Prince." No matter if you’re “coming and going," this song is “deep in your bones." 

The rhythmic cymbals of “Whispering on the Curves" signal a more grounded chapter than the rest of the album. Although a rooted sense for this rock arrangement, an airy aspiration takes over as vocal echoes haunt the ensemble. 

“Something in Your Rhythm" is an immediate attention grabber with dopamine-infused synth sensations—an upbeat anthem for every season with a side of tasteful tonalities for every palate. “Something in Your Rhythm won’t let me quit" dancing, that’s for certain! Did I mention the crafty messages of analogies among the lyrics, like puzzle pieces? 

Marnie’s voice is powerfully potent when describing the essence in “A Little Life." As she names the ingredients to existence with each verse, she changes course in the chorus pushing us to “get up now" and breathe in the very value of our presence. The synth-pop theme continues to drive her message to the very end. 

Lyrics in “Minneapolis" begin as a description of the location, yet the tone quickly reverts to more of a memory. Chimes, rock riffs, and an electronic drift weave this tune together. A more downtempo track from the album’s episodes still holds a flighty feeling of happiness. 

“Close" recaps Endless from the Start with earthy textures from “There’s A River" yet sets a different script. The shadowy vocals blend in with the classical strings and drums of a forest, inviting the listener to explore the depths of the bark and brick features. The tempo eventually begins to slow down, but the beats and bops, those of a William Orbit remix, sped through to an abrupt silence. 

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