Land Animal INSIDE OUT. CD/DL/LP
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.