The Days and Nights of Everything Anywhere

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In the three short years leading up to this record, Portland, OR's 31 Knots became a veritable juggernaut of punky, quirky pop power. From the tight-as-hell compositions on The Curse of the Longest Day and Talk Like Blood (both out in 2005), to the alternating tense-loose-expansive experimentations of 2006's Polemics EP, 31 Knots continued to break new musical ground without losing any of their signature pop/punk/prog/math rock tendencies. The 31 Knots' style filter often put the boys in the same camp as Modest Mouse (and other strict math rockers), but a deeper look revealed a more Police or Fugazi-like aggregation of influences. Strictly speaking, 31 Knots could drop their guitars, drums, basses and synths for tubas, pan flutes, zithers and banjos, and it would still sound like 31 Knots. And so it is, with 2007's The Days and Nights of Everything Anywhere, that we find the boys broadening their sound palette, while honing their singular, signature style. Not too many bands could utilize jarring stop-start musical passages and still be called "relaxed," but that is one of the chief elements that makes 31 Knots so enjoyable overall and The Days and Nights so enjoyable in particular. The fellas seem to have achieved that laid-back, comfortable confidence that only comes with virtuosic musicianship and bandmate-to-bandmate telepathy -- and they make it sound so easy, you may be fooled into thinking it is. The album is packed with odd time signatures, dramatic dynamic variations and prog rock-level riffery, but you'd hardly notice it -- as the songs presented are so carefully serviced, and so fully realized, that they exist as individual works rather than musically dextrous showcases. The technical precision is just a bonus and songs like "Sanctify" and "Imitation Flesh" remind you that, for all of their musical skill, 31 Knots are as keen on serving a song as they are on rockin' it out. [The Japanese version includes bonus tracks.]

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