Like a master blacksmith forging a perfectly balanced sword, Chris Knox can write a song that doesn’t sound like much but whose simple lines and careful craftmanship place it years and miles ahead of the competition. Knox reaches into your heart and shakes it like a wet rag. Pioneering a unique New Zealand home-taped sound (with Alec Bathgate in the Tall Dwarfs and in several solo projects), Knox has always assembled intense bits of his soul among tape loops, kitchen percussion and a whatever-instrument-is-handy philosophy. Beat brings forth a baker’s dozen new Knox tracks, including “My Only Friend,” a touching song of familiarity and trust that’s been my favorite for the last week. Previous to that, it was “When I Have Left This Mortal Coil,” whose mood is angry and unafraid. Though no two songs sound the same, they share that same earnest philosophy of loops among the piano and fuzz guitar. Chris also thoughtfully includes chords and arrangements along with his lyrics, for would-be poets and songwriters aspiring to sit on the shoulders of giants.
Thirsty Ear Recordings, 274 Madison Ave., Suite 804, New York, NY 10016; http://www.thirstyear.com