Good things come to those who wait, and Knifey’s new album Sleepwalker is no exception. It’s probably been about a year and a half since I heard the band had been recording a new album, produced by Nixon Boyd (Hollerado), as a follow up to their 2017’s Beached. When I saw the release announcement I immediately reached out to the band’s guitarist, Phil Linton, to see if I could review it.
I discovered Knifey by accident. I was out on a Wednesday night with a friend and we decided to stop into the Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto (which is my favorite venue….Man I miss live music) to see who was playing. Soon after we walked in, Knifey took the stage and blew us away with their take on surf-rock.
Listening to the lyrics of the album, there seems to be an overarching theme of growing up and trying to find yourself. Wondering if the right decisions have been made and questioning relationships. The effort opens with “Can’t Stop Feeling,” which is more of a pop punk tune than surf, and it shows the band’s versatility. Knifey are definitely not a one-trick pony and are able to adapt their sound to a range of music styles while keeping true to themselves.
“Ask You” goes back to the surf-sounds of their previous releases. It’s a fun song to listen to, with great vocal harmonies and twangy guitar being driven by a solid drum beat and bass line. The lyrics allude to insecurity as the refrain keeps saying, “I’ll ask you, am I cool enough for you?,” which many people can relate to.
“Shallow” was the first track released, shortly after recording for the album was finished, and possesses some Alkaline Trio undertones. I remember driving home one night and hearing it being featured on the local Alternative radio station. I fell in love with “Savage” as soon as I heard it. With a more south-western guitar sound that would not be out of place in a Robert Rodriguez movie and spoken lyrics, it truly shows how versatile the band can be.
“Every” is a beautiful song with soft guitars and a subtle, high-hat based beat. The vocals bring out the frustration of the song’s protagonist dealing with relationship issues. The album closes with a song about the notorious all-night Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) bus that is colloquially known as the “vomit comet.” Guitarist Phil Linton takes lead vocals, singing about how horrible it is to have to ride it and how he never wants to do so again.
Sleepwalker, the new album from Knifey, is available everywhere now!