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Shovels & Rope - "I Know" (Singles Going Steady)

"I Know" is an animalistic alt-folk lunge-forward, one that casts the duo's unique admixture of roots rock, left-field country, and classic singer-songwriter fare over a T. Rex-parroting metallic strut.

Pryor Stroud: The lead single from Shovels & Rope's upcoming LP Little Seeds, "I Know" begins with a tenuous wheeze of feedback -- the noise of a guitar waking up, or perhaps getting ready to pounce. Then, a locomotive six-string chug introduces Michael Trent and Cary Ann Hearst's harmonized vocal, and it becomes clear that the latter is true; at its core, "I Know" is an animalistic alt-folk lunge-forward, one that casts the duo's unique admixture of roots rock, left-field country, and classic singer-songwriter fare over a T. Rex-parroting metallic strut. "Call it even / Call it even / Baby, take a bow", they belt in unison, rival musicians sizing each other up, and when they both hit the long monosyllable of "bow" like it's a valedictory kiss-off pushing the other offstage, it's obvious that neither will be content with a tie. [7/10]

Steve Horowitz: Nice fuzzy guitar and shared vocals here! The male and female dynamic reveals they are equally complicit in the love affair -- whether it is one of the heart or one of music, or both at the same time. The off-key and out of time background noises just make the song that more solid, like that of a door that squeaks when you shut it. The two may know each other intimately and that's the mystery that makes life, love, and music worthwhile. [8/10]

Jordan Blum: They nail the gritty folk/rock aesthetic and confrontational male/female vocals. I can't say it's especially original (there's a lot of this style going on these days), but they do it as well as just about anyone else. Really, I think it'd be more interesting to hear an instrumental version of this. The singers are fine, of course, but I'd rather discern the subtitles of how the music changes. [7/10]

Chad Miller: Pleasantly surprising track. There's a good usage of noise in this song. It gives the piece some bite compared to its melody which could have fit in a variety of genres. It did take some unexpected turns though which was nice to hear. [7/10]

Shovels & Rope's new album Little Seeds releases October 7th via New West Records.

SCORE: 7.25

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