Austin’s indie-rock class of the early aughts was something special. A person could walk down Red River and go from club to club watching Okkervil River, Explosions In The Sky, Zykos, I Love You But I’ve Chosen Darkness, and other bands that would soon be headlining venues around the world. One such contemporary to those artists was Knife In The Water, which broke through with the critically adored albums Plays One Sound and Others, Cut the Cord, and Red River. (The three albums combined for an average score of 8.3 in the notoriously snobby music site Pitchfork’s reviews.)
The band never officially broke up, but after 2003 they never recorded another album and by 2007 they had stopped playing in Austin all together. Still, given the creative and critical achievements of Knife In The Water during the five-year stretch from 1998 to 2003, there’s long been a base of fans with fond memories of songs like “I Sent You Up” and “Party (For The People of the Open Wound)” who’ve wanted to hear what sort of songs frontman Aaron Blount would have written if he’d continued to release music.
They can stop wondering. The band officially reunited to play live shows earlier this year and album of all-new material, Reproduction, due in March. You can listen to the first song from that album, “Call It A Shame,” below.
The song is classic Knife In The Water, with harmonies layered over Blount’s lush vocals, and a simple melody that leads to resonant drums and the ringing of a slide guitar. It’s perfect for a rainy morning or a low-key night, which is the sort of space that the band’s music has always comfortably occupied.
“We work slow, but we’ve never stopped playing music,” Blount says. “It had been twelve years since we stepped away from normal life and finished a record, so we started recording at [Spoon drummer] Jim Eno’s studio in Austin, Public Hi-Fi. It slowly dawned on us that if we were gonna keep doing records on our own eccentric schedule, we needed to build our own studio. Matt Gerhard from Public Hi-Fi helped us put our studio together, and ‘Call It A Shame’ is the first song we did at our new place.”
Reproduction is out on March 3 from Keeled Scales.