"Bent Knee scan as perfectly well-adjusted, responsible, healthy, hard-working, productive members of society who pose no physical or psychic threat to anyone. But I don’t buy it.
Frankly, while Skyping with four of the six Bent Knee affiliates — as they soaked in some downtime from a 50-commitment D.I.Y. cross-country tour at their synth player’s mom’s house somewhere outside Atlanta — I suspected they concealed their true nature, possibly for my own protection. “Normal” people couldn’t play in this band.
Now, if keyboardist/vocalist Courtney Swain, guitarist Ben Levin, violinist Chris Baum, and bassist Jessica Kion had shown up to this interview decked out as if lately banished from a steampunk convention, and told me last year’s Shiny Eyed Babies was actually written by succubi and essences of long-dead silent film stars conjured during chaos magic rituals… that, I would’ve believed.
The Boston-based band regularly get tagged with the “genre-defying” cliche — which sorta, kinda fits. But even if they don’t have a genre, they do fall into an aesthetic tradition alongside the likes of Reverend Glasseye, early years Dresden Dolls, HUMANWINE, Beat Circus, and other Boston art rock organizations who refused to make music that could possibly bore anyone. But make no mistake: this ostensibly non-threatening gang of ex-Berklee kids do not color outside the lines. It only sounds that way to the rest of us, because only Bent Knee know what the picture is supposed to look like.
Following their welcome home show Sunday at O’Brien’s In Allston, Bent Knee tell us they’re on their way to Q Division Studios to forge a fresh collection of tunes, tentatively scheduled for mass consumption in the spring of ‘16. The new material has been described as “charmingly incohesive” and “less sad” than Shiny Eyed’satmosphere of amped up melancholia. “[That record] was full of blockbusters, I suppose,” notes Baum, midway through this correspondence. “And this is more like indie films.”