Bent Knee’s fourth album, Land Animal, was lauded on a number of higher profile tastemaker websites and blogs last year, most of them citing comparisons to acts like the Mars Volta and Porcupine Tree, but few write-ups seem to acknowledge the almost vaudevillian and burlesque feel of their dark and cinematic sound. Sure, they do female fronted prog with many of the expected trappings you’d find everywhere from vintage Renaissance to recent Lana del Rey, but there’s a cheeky humor and lilting giggle to the both the lyrics and vocal presentation, gracing the new album tracks with enough nudges, winks, and naughty nods to make one wonder if this isn’t actually a spoof of theatrical rock.
Singer Courtney Swain’s multi-octave range has been compared to both Kate Bush and Adele, but I detect more than a little Nina Hagen and Lene Lovich among her more prominent influences, with occasional hiccups, squeaks, and growls that occasionally cause the band to sound for all the world like Marillion as if fronted by Bjork. When they take the Soda Bar stage on June 21, the show will be opened by New Jersey post hardcore band Gatherers, whose new single, “The Floorboards Are Breathing,” was inspired by the 2007 documentary film One Minute to Nine, chronicling the final days before Wendy Maldonado began serving a prison sentence for killing her abusive husband. The song previews their upcoming full-length, We Are Alive Beyond Repair, due in June via Equal Vision Records.