[7 July 2014]
PopMatters Associate Music Editor
Austin songwriter Collin Herring’s fifth album, Some Knives, is his first record in five years. But it’s an album that suggests that when we worry time creates rust what we should remember is time creates perspective, complexity, wisdom. This is a record that rumbles with all the confident clatter and assured shake of a long-owned pick-up. Some Knives travels an uneasy road and leans into the ruts all the way. Songs like “Psychopaths” and the title track are powerful, humming rockers, full of ringing guitars and Matt Pence’s propulsive drumming, not to mention Herring’s full-throated, dripping honey of a voice. Even as he tells us “psychopaths like me don’t shiver”, he still delivers it with smoldering intensity. And if Herring worries about a lack of feeling, of empathy, the careful textures and emotions of “Woke Up the Same” and “Come Home” suggest exactly the opposite. This album was created as Herring’s dad was diagnosed with cancer that he eventually beat into submission. The album has fittingly heavy shadows lurking on the outskirts, but the middle of this isn’t the eye of storm, it’s the resilient light of day. That light that makes some of those shadows, the ones that seem—on second view—not ominous, but rather things thrown by Herring’s songs. These things, with his nuanced voice and careful lyrics, stare down the sun.