[10 November 2008]
PopMatters Associate Music Editor
Though The Door only has six songs, the new release by New York’s Religious Knives is a pretty generous helping of music. Not only does it span nearly 30 minutes over those tracks, but they jump genres and sounds from track to track. There’s the tribal drumming and vocal harmonies of “Downstairs”, the 60’s psych-rock of “Basement Watch”, the droning ghost thump of “On a Drive”. On each track, the band sounds expansive and strong. They realize that “noise” doesn’t mean “volume”, so when a guitar sounds in long distorted lurches, it doesn’t always make your ears ring. And the drums fill holes and bolster tracks rather than breaking them with overdone fills. With Thurston Moore at the knobs, he and the band use The Door to mine the best parts of noise rock—the mood, the atmosphere, the texture—without clogging it with screeching feedback. They may have trouble making their speak-shouted vocals match up to the size of their compositions, but Religious Knives show they can make noise with the best of them, because those noises are embedded skillfully into steady songs.