Make no mistake about it, garage rock is best when blended with punk rock enthusiasm and pop sensibility. If you take a listen to Butter Knife, it’ll only take you a few minutes to realize that Audacity has mastered the art form, leaving those of you thirsting for a solid rock record with the solution to what ails you.
Sure, “Couldn’t Hold a Candle” is the perfect way to open the record, and it might convince others that Audacity was going to bring more of a pop sensibility to this outing; it’s got these great hooks from both the anthemic lyrics and the guitar playing, but what sold me on my infatuation with Butter Knife was the following tune, “Pigs.” Furiously the drums pound, pushing the pace of the track into more of the classic punk rock realm, but, please do hold on here. Just after the 1.5 minute mark, the song breaks down; it turns itself on its side, bringing more of a power-pop sound into the fold. For me, it’s the best of both worlds!
The next big hit you’ll find is “Cold Rush.” It begins with a twanging guitar that rings, then moves into this bouncing swing of energy and brattiness. Using backing vocals from the far off background is another nice touch that really makes this tune a straight-up winner. Even as the longest track on the album it never ceases to lose its accessibility, making one of my favorite tunes. And if you skip ahead just a bit, you’ll find “Rooster,” which is another track that’s worth your time (although they all are really). One great thing about this track is not just the pacing, but the clarity of the vocals that allows you to really sink your teeth into the tune.
When listening to Butter Knife, you’ll see that every song has something to offer listeners. Those of you looking for a classic pop sound can find yourself nodding along to tunes like “Onomatopoeia” or “Dancing Under the Soft Light;” they both offer great ballad stylings, though done in Audacity‘s fashion. Or there’s the harder edged tunes like “Tell Yourself” and “Watered Down,” so you get the best of both worlds: punk and pop. The band moves between the two so easily that it’s clear they’ve mastered the form, better than many of their peers.
As garage rock continues to make its push, it’s easy to get weighed down by all the countless names coming in and out of the genre. But, every once in a while you stumble onto some group that’s doing it just right. It’s not too punk, it’s not too pop. Butter Knife walks a fine line between the two, and in doing so, Audacity have left us with a record that we’ll be bobbing along to for quite some time.
Download: Audacity – Couldn’t Hold A Candle [MP3]