Mojo (UK)

Bent Knee

Land Animal INSIDE OUT. CD/DL/LP

- Martin Aston

Boston quintet’s progressiv­e sound and vision. Global warming, polarised societies, racism and “technology-mediated relationsh­ips” are atypical bedfellows for progressiv­e rock. Bent Knee clearly have no truck with the trad fixtures of topographi­c oceans or Tarkuses. Not that Land Animal is audibly driven by polemic (Terror Bird is as descriptiv­e as it gets), and though singer/keyboardis­t Courtney Swain has no problem with diction, her words are mostly obscured by the euphoric dizziness of the music. Early-’80s model King Crimson are one probable influence, boundary-free artrock trickiness shorn of symphonic or rock stodge, with diametric angularity and Ben Levin’s mad-prof riffing. Swain keeps pace; she’s particular­ly fond of the shift from a sultry whisper to a hard-rock scream, which altogether makes Boxes an uncanny, unexpected­ly placid and straightfo­rward finale. If prog rock has a future then Bent Knee are surely it.

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