Review: The Drone by We Are Knuckle Dragger (2013)

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The Drone is the second album by We Are Knuckle Dragger. They’re a very good band and this is a very good album, but will you like it? Maybe.

Knuckle Dragger aren’t a group for everybody, but that’s fine. They make the music they want to make, which shouldn’t really be such a fucking novelty, and that music is beautiful. Not beautiful like Chopin, but beautiful, glorious NOISE.

A huge shit-eating grin spreads over my face every time that first slab of grumbly rumbly bass starts molesting my speakers. Perhaps such mucky stuff shouldn’t make me so happy, but I can’t help it.

This shit’s all over the place and I love it.

The Drone was produced by Ross Robinson, the man who invented Slipknot, and he’s a great fit. As much of a crime Korn was he totally makes up for it with this. We cool, Ross, we cool.

I’m not going to talk about The Drone song by song because it’s not that kind of record. Everything is brilliant, that’s what you need to know.

It’s also heavy. Really heavy. Really fucking heavy. Jesus Christ, it’s heavy.

Do you like heavy music? Do you like noisy noise? Do you like to boogie? Do you like to rock and/or roll? Do you like grunge? Do you like to do a depressed shuffle to The Cure? Into ABBA?

None of the above?

Billy Joel 4 life.
Billy Joel 4 life.

You should listen to The Drone anyway. It’s only 29 minutes long, what else were you going to do today?

It’s been very interesting to see this album develop. I was lucky enough to attend a secret show in Knuckle Dragger‘s rehearsal space where they played 9 of these 10 songs (the 10th wasn’t done yet) only a few days before they were recorded and beaten into shape. To then see them (in HMV, of all places) perform the whole thing front-to-back on the day of release was a real treat.

If they come anywhere near you then try and catch them while they’re still cheap to see. If you live somewhere near Newcastle-upon-Tyne then your chances are better than most (I’ve seen them three times this year without really trying) but they tour the UK fairly regularly and it’s surely not long until they can pop on over to mainlaind Europe to give them a good kicking.

Look! They're in HMV!
Look! They’re in HMV!

Here are a few videos to give you an idea of what’s what and the full album is below (on Spotify). Here’s their official website where you can buy their albums. Do it!

The Drone track list:

  1. This Better Be Life Threatening Norman
  2. Starting Strength
  3. Class of 94
  4. Bunch of Fucking Mutants
  5. Sucker
  6. The Moon on a Stick
  7. Learning by Doing
  8. Here’s Your Shit Sandwich
  9. Flapjack the Ripper
  10. Funhouse

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Review: Shameless by Therapy? (2001)

Err...
Err…

A lot of people hate this album. I don’t hate this album though. I think it’s great, although it does have a few dodgy moments. Cover art included.

Shameless is Therapy?’s ‘American’ album, recorded by grunge hero Jack Endino in Seattle. Unfortunately not a gamble that translated into good record sales but one that produced a good rock record nonetheless.

Do you remember that thing music people used to do in the late 90s? That thing where some of the song would sound like it was on the radio? That’s what leads us into opener Gimme Back My Brain. It’s a little unfortunate, but it’s soon fixed with a great yelp and an excellent riff. Gimme gimme gimme baaaack my brain. Yeah! It rocks. That’s all it needs to do. It’s even got a bass solo/cowbell breakdown. The fuck more do you want?

What a nice segue! Dance is a nice heavy track, that strange sort of slow that you can still boogie to a little bit. Is there a lot to say about this song? Not really, although it does feature the line ‘welcome to fuckland’, make of that what you will. Oh yeah, and the guitar solo is pretty cool too.

Whoa-oh-oh-ah-whoa! This One’s For You is one of those should-be hits. Perhaps if it had come out a couple of years later amongst all this ‘Kings of Leon’ bollocks it would have been just fine, but that would have involved conforming and being appreciated which underground society tells us is wrong.

Champagne for my real friends, real pain for my sham friends. What a beast of a lyric.

I was lucky enough to see I Am The Money performed live, one of the only times since Shameless was buried in 2002. I was unlucky enough to see it the one time Andy Cairns decided to experiment with auto-tune technology and it all went a bit wrong.

What’s really shit in this case is that we have a fucking great song with an incredible outro that’s CUT OFF on the record. The full version languishes as the b-side on some single somewhere. Wank.

For serious though, a good song, just a bit castrated.

Wicked Man is pure Iggy Pop rip-off. It’s fantastic. What the hell is a heavy metal parking lot? I don’t care. Features some classic 1960s rock organ work by some dude. Theme From Delorean has an arguably quite stupid name which is a shame because it’s one of the best songs on the album, with a great bongo fury in the middle.

Now, as much as I love this album, I can’t deny that the quality does go down a smidgen from this point. That doesn’t detract from their merit as awesome slabs of rock ‘n’ roll, but they do suffer compared to what has come previously.

Tango Romeo brings us back to where we need to be just in time for the end of the record. It does seem to be generally disliked amongst the Therapy? faithful but I think they’re all wrong. Silly lyrics, maybe, but riffs ahoy! Stalk & Slash is a real car crash of a song, but that’s how every great joy ride should end, isn’t it?

Shameless is a flawed album but the intent behind it shines through. Therapy? obviously set out to make a fun album of maximum rock ‘n’ roll and in that sense it was a great success. Perhaps it came at the wrong time, after grunge stopped being novel but before it was okay to like it again. Perhaps that doesn’t fucking matter, because it’s a fantastic record. Listen to it!

Shameless track list:

  1. Gimme Back My Brain
  2. Dance
  3. This One’s For You
  4. I Am The Money
  5. Wicked Man
  6. Theme From Delorean
  7. Joey
  8. Endless Psychology
  9. Alrite
  10. Body Bag Girl
  11. Tango Romeo
  12. Stalk & Slash