> Album Review - Start From The Endless by Union of Knives - SNACK: Music, film, arts and culture magazine for Scotland

Album Review – Start From The Endless by Union of Knives

Layers upon layers of lacquer that pull the listener further in.

Eighteen years and an almost complete change of line-up on from their debut album, Violence & Birdsong, polymathic producer Chris Gordon returns to the project that took Union of Knives to Cy Twombly exhibitions at the Tate Modern and the lovelorn doctors of Grey’s Anatomy. Intended as a companion piece to 2021’s Endless From The Start, he is once again working with Ant Thomaz of DopeSickFly and drummer Peter Kelly of, well, too many bands to list here, but best known for his work with The Kills and electroclash darlings Ladytron.

It’s a dense, complex piece of work with influences drawn from classical music as much as industrial; drum and bass and heavy metal blast beats. It’s all about texture and contrast – the dreamy weave of ‘Elixir’ falling into the pounding hedonism of single ‘Salut Salut’; the delicacy of ‘I Took My Rage From the Sun’, where guest vocalist Daisy Miles sings ‘I would never hurt her’ and leaves dread open in the implication; the doomy coda of ‘Annihilation’ with the title repeated in a blissful lullaby.

Gordon is a talented and prolific producer – using Kelly’s forceful drum blasts as a rush of propulsion under ‘X’ or as a pounding techno break, and Thomaz as a charismatic voice that can lighten the intensity as well as lean into it. Honestly, there’s a lot going on here, and I feel like I’m probably capable of analysing about ten percent of the sheer depth of this even on about a week of solid listens – it’s like a Rothko painting or something, layers upon layers of lacquer that pull the listener further in each time.

Is that a stylophone? A theremin? Is that a string quartet of a feedback loop, vocal distortion, or manipulated guitars? There’s an intensity to it – the kind of confidence of an album that is able to stand in an uncategorisable space on its own – that could soundtrack both raving vampires and the most modern of art.

Start From The Endless is out now

Main Photo Credit: Simon Murphy

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