I Have A Knife
Stupid and Futile Gestures
Growing up in Louisville’s punk community in the late 90’s/early 00’s, I was constantly reminded that if I wasn’t listening to Kinghorse, then I must be doing something wrong. After several attempts to “get” those guys, their theatrical brand of rock and roll/metal flew right over my head. Despite the fact that their record was produced by none other than punk overlord Glenn Danzig, no personal bond would ever be made with yours truly. That being said, I do find KH to be incredibly interesting and important to our city, and it’s easy to say that one of the major components to my fascination with them comes from singer Sean Garrison.
His new band is called I Have A Knife, and they’ve arrived with their debut 12-song record Stupid and Futile Gestures. The roster of musicians in this collective boasts an impressive punk rock pedigree including Garrison on vocals, Gabrielle Kays (The Revenants) on bass and Greg Livingston (Hedge, Out.) plays guitar. That alone is enough to turn a lot of heads in this town, including my own. Given the roster, I had a decent idea of what this band would sound like, and after a few listens, I was proven to be mostly correct.
15 seconds into the first song “Gayworld,” I’m already feeling that same disconnect I had with Kinghorse. Just as I’m getting into their aggressive take on classic hardcore punk, Garrison’s over-the-top theatrical vocals take me out of the moment like a toaster being thrown into an otherwise pleasant hot tub. That’s not to say that this guy doesn’t still have ridiculous range, because he’s obviously a more than capable singer on several levels. I’m actually impressed that he still has the ability to stretch his vocals into crazy dimensions that most wouldn’t dream of.
The aforementioned disconnect continues throughout most of the record for me, but that’s not to say I don’t like the album. These songs are expertly constructed on a classic punk platform that is hard for me not to gravitate toward. My favorite track is “Dinner To Go, Boldly,” another face-melter where in the middle the song morphs into an almost poppy, demented take on The B-52’s complete with “Tralalala’s” and spoken words ala Fred Schneider.
Basically, if you dug Kinghorse, and you dig aggressive, ear-drum exploding punk rock, then you almost certainly will dig I Have A Knife’s debut Stupid and Futile Gestures. While the album never completely made a connection with me personally, I want to make it clear that I’m not saying that I think it’s not a good record. As I’m reviewing music created by a group of punk rock mainstays, I feel it’d’ be the most un-punk take if I were to be disingenuous by ranting and raving over a vocal style that I’m just not that into. I respect everyone in I Have A Knife tremendously, and for that I feel that honesty is fucking paramount.
EDITOR’S NOTE: When I started writing this review, I definitely didn’t think I’d be comparing I Have A Knife to The B-52’s.
Listen to Stupid and Futile Gestures below: