Rage Valley EP
Earstorm/Big Beat Records
In their incredibly short existence, Pendulum’s Rob Swire and Gareth McGrillen’s self-described ‘seizure music’, electro-step side project Knife Party, has been an unstoppable force in the EDM world. Their first release, 2011’s 100% No Modern Talking, featured one of the biggest (and most overplayed) songs of the year, Internet Friends. With one of the most instantly recognisable riffs in EDM, creepy pop-culture referencing lyrics and a riot-causing, bass-heavy electro drop, it’s hard to imagine any track topping the sheer brilliance of Internet Friends.
Far before its release, fans were already declaring Knife Party’s second EP Rage Valley to be one of the best records of the year. Hailed as the benchmark for EDM production, the duo had the greatest of expectations to live up to with this record, a feat they were expected to conquer and surpass.
Rage Valley is the epitome of perfection, production-wise, but lacks the dumbfounding originality and creative ingenuity of 100% no modern talking. Each song slams the signature Knife Party sound, face-melting bass and ear-splitting technical chaos, but are almost interchangeable, unmemorable, and will offer nothing new or exciting for fans of the genre.
The title track is inoffensive, melodic electro, perfectly produced and baring mass commercial appeal, with an anticipative buildup and drop, guaranteeing it to be a hit when performed live.
Previewed at festivals around the world, Knife Party have been teasing fans for the months with the track Centipede. The song begins with a long-winded, National Geographic style sample, which is nothing original for music lovers, as samples have been used endlessly across genres, but quite frankly, a lot better ones than this. Centipede is heavy as all hell, but again lacks memorability and the frenzy-causing potential of other Knife Party tracks.
Bonfire is interchangeable with the latest releases from dubstep heavyweights Rusko and Skrillex. It features typical dancehall vocals over a reggae rhythm, but is far too reminiscent of Pendulum’s 2005 drum and bass classic Tarantula, to not be compared.
Sleaze features the vocals of BBC Radio’s dubstep program’s well-loved host and DJ, Mistajam. The track is pure moombahton, a genre currently cashing in on great commercial success, and is a welcome change of pace on the EP.
Rage Valley certainly reinforces the notion that Knife Party are the masters of genre, seamlessly blending electro, house, dubstep and moombahton, however in a genre spilling over with artists and hopefuls where audacity and memorability are crucial, this attempt comes up short.
Rage Valley is a solid effort, displaying Knife Party’s versatility and first-class production, however, lacks the mind-blowing creativity and instant likeability of their first release.
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