Chicago band the Knees balance postpunk precision and shoegaze warmth on their debut EP | Music Review | Chicago Reader

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Chicago band the Knees balance postpunk precision and shoegaze warmth on their debut EP


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Chicago postpunk four-piece the Knees dropped their first single, “Round and Round,” three years ago; on the A side the band balance a terse, tightly wound melody with a smidgen of garage feedback, while the entropic B side, “Distribution,” displays their fondness for noise. Since then, the Knees have released new music at a trickle. Their debut EP, August’s Posture (Born Yesterday), is their first new material since the June 2018 single “Stammer,” which Brooklyn-based label Two Syllable also included on May’s Chicago Cassette Compilation: Volume 3. As front man David Miller recently told music blog Ears to Feed, the Knees spent that time focused on developing their chops as a unit rather than flooding the Internet with new recordings: “It was a lot of prioritizing playing live as opposed to recording anything new.” Time served the Knees well; they’ve become a tighter band, and on Posture they play white-knuckle postpunk with surgical precision. The interlocking guitars central to their sound can be as antiseptic as they are edgy, but they’ve figured out how to make a little space in their busy songs for a human touch. On “Speaking in the Backseat,” they pull back on the throttle and color their guitars with shoegaze reverb that creates a dreamlike effervescence.   v

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