We, the public, can smell fakes a mile off, and that’s why authenticity is such an important ingredient if you’re making music which has something to say.
Charlie Steel has pieced together some highly hooky riffs to add his vocal talent to. And he is not about to be shy in putting himself across. His authentic (what sounds like a) South London accent refuses to kowtow to the received wisdoms that are all-too-often flying around. In fact, following on from the Not Industry Standard EP, Knocks makes its point, and identifies a target, straight away: ‘He’s a clipboard cunt’.
But it’s the repeated lines ‘Another lost soul / In another lost place’ that really hammer home… and this uncompromising style is matched by an anarchic and fun video that utilises bleak imagery and homespun recording and editing techniques to further drive the lyrical points home.
Sparky and intelligent, Knocks cleverly weaves vocal textures and space around the intricate guitar riffs that are squirming throughout, offering trilling notes of tension while a fizzy percussion loop drops in and out; to drive and pull and push for moments of emphasis. These all work together to give the whole piece a musical narrative that makes sense, adds colour, and retains interest.
The different riffs loop onto themselves perfectly, creating a tension that the urgent vocals use to spit rhythmic and energetic interest. When the track ends, unresolved, it’s a real slap in the face.
Fresh, raw, uncompromising, honest, intelligent and focused, Knocks really delivers. It’s a visceral, entertaining delight, packaged with a whip-smart video and attitude in spades.