Hit Man Dreams
I owe the band and the label an apology; I’ve been jamming this record on a daily basis for a few months now (it made it into my top 3 of 1997). So why no review? Well, every time I’ve sat down to write one, I put on the CD, and the next thing I know it’s 44 minutes later and I’m emotionally drained, with nothing to say. No Knife is that good.
But I’ll try — No Knife seem to come from the same post-punk school that spawns bands like Man Will Surrender and Shiner, but they’ve absorbed enough punk and pop to know how to get the immediate gratification, the amazing hook and chorus. When these skills are put together, you get Hit Man Dreams, a record that’s both breathtakingly intricate and as urgent and basic as a kick in the head. Every song is its own little landscape, with peaks, valleys, lulls and full-on tsunamis of noise. The vocals are plaintive and emotional without being whiny, the words intelligent without pretentiousness. They pull off post-punk anthems (“Your Albatross”), stirring ballads (the title track) and dead-sprint rock tunes (“Jackboots”) one after another with class and style, every song following the last one like they’ve been linked together since music was invented. No Knife is everything Man Will Surrender, Shift and Handsome aren’t — they transcend genre. This is a classic.
Everyone has something — be it Star Trek, The Simpsons, a Tom Clancy book, Phantom of the friggin’ Opera, I dunno — something you experience, and it’s like you crawled up inside it and lived for a while. You keep talking about it, particular moments keep running through your head, you can’t stop dwelling on it. No Knife is like that. This album is the closest thing to a perfect rock record I’ve heard, and it’s become one of my all-time, top 10, take-it-to-the-desert-island CDs. The door’s open and there’s plenty of room — come on in. Time Bomb, 219 Broadway #519, Laguna Beach, CA 92651