On paper, it’s the sort of thing that will either make you groan or wince:who would think to bring together the worlds of punk—with its stripped-down, DIY ethos—and classical music—with its high-minded, through composed nature? The inspired duo that calls itself Teach Me Equals, however, proves that such a distinction might be spurious in the first place. Greg Bortnichak (cello, guitar, vocals) and Erin Murphy (guitar, violin, keyboard, and vocals) are making a bold declaration with their debut, Knives in the Hope Chest, which undergoes just that kind of genre-melding—although they are drawing from far more than just two spheres of influence in their songwriting.
The duo tells PopMatters about the LP, “To us, Knives in the Hope Chest is an exercise in sublimation: it is a depiction not of our personal or the greater cultural landscape, but of the reductive forces that shape them. Nothing here is completely autobiographical, but at the same time there are intimate pieces of ourselves interwoven throughout the record.
“Many of the songs on Knives play upon motifs or running narratives that come and go on their own accord, sometimes pausing to directly acknowledge the listener, but more often than not, flitting in and out of the big picture like particles of dust in a sunbeam. The record is an attempt to encapsulate the elemental, and explode constrictive paradigms of rock and roll and its inherent mythos. Here are nine thought pieces that we hope inhibit thinking altogether, but instead promote pure feeling when one surrenders themselves wholly to the experience of listening.”
Knives in the Hope Chest is out on September 16th through Minorlit.