Extremely Cool

Angry young men are ten-a-penny these days....

Angry young men are ten-a-penny these days. But while anyone can turn not-so-teenage angst into a way of life, only some can translate it successfully to music.

Californian trio [a]Knapsack[/a] certainly have all the required credentials: a hardcore fanbase, previous tours with [a]Pavement[/a] and [a]Rocket From The Crypt[/a] and a guitarist (one Sergie Loobkoff) who’s on first-name terms with feedback. But while he manages to restrain himself for some of this snappily titled third album, most choruses here surrender all tune and subtlety to a tangled noise and singer Blair Shehan‘s husky roar. And, frankly, we’ve heard all that before.

What [a]Knapsack[/a] need to prove is that they’ve got something more than just a love of volume. So listen closely to the (rare) quieter bits as Blair‘s voice melts into a gentle Evan Dando-tinged purr and a far more intriguing band emerge. Without the awful Offspring choruses, for example, ‘Shape Of The Fear’ would be a scratchy, laid-back cross between Placebo and Dinosaur Jr, while the fragile ‘Cold Enough To Break’ dumps the racket for groaning cellos and Blair‘s softly morbid whisper.

Loathing the world and everyone in it is one thing. But thankfully [a]Knapsack[/a] don’t have to shout to prove it.