The Name Rings a Bell That Drowns out Your Voice

In Music We Trust

Sydney, Australia’s Knievel doesn’t really sound like itself. Instead it sounds like the half a million bands that sound alike. Even the Lomo-made cover art on The Name That Rings a Bell That Drowns out Your Voice involves retreading familiar territory — viz. Voyager One’s release From the New Nation of Long Shadows, another epic-sounding title complete with Lomo artwork. But this subdued record, released in the States on Oregon’s In Music We Trust label, is full of evocative, straightforward pop tunes that will delight any ear. Better yet, the lyrics are more thoughtful and inspired than the standard indie fare.

On the trio’s third album, tracks such as “Don’t Explain” and “Thoughts in a Pattern” conflate classic R.E.M. guitar lines with spot-on blends of male and female vocals, reminiscent of Ida. The faster songs — “Chance Meeting,” for example — seem to draw from the recent Superchunk repertoire for inspiration. Originality is not exactly Knievel’s bag. They tend to operate solidly within the indie-pop genre rather than beyond it.

And yet, there is something endearing about every track on this CD. In a peculiar twist of the steadfastly average, the whole of this album finds the delicate balance between the yin and yang of substance and fluff, sophistication and simple enjoyment. It’s this same equilibrium that makes The Name… such a pleasant experience, and a strong album to have in your collection.

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