An immersive journey and an intimate conversation all at once, Boston's Bent Knee is perhaps the perfect soundtrack for those obsessed with the new and unusual. Boasting incredible musicianship and astonishing dynamic range, the art-rock ensemble's live show “sends expectations reeling” (Cover Me) and “lands us into what would go down in hipster heaven history of music transcendence" (Playback:stl). Their new album comes out this fall.
On Shiny Eyed Babies, the genre-defying Boston, MA art rock collective known as Bent Knee push themselves far beyond the conventional definition of “indie rock.” Drawing from an expansive sonic palette edged by the touchstones of heavy psych, baroque pop, and avant-jazz, the ensemble craft compositions where melodies swell and collapse, only to coalesce unexpectedly into anthemic crescendo.
Fiercely innovative, Shiny Eyed Babies bridges the gap between the experimental and the familiar, combining texture and style into music that’s moving, addictive, and unapologetically original. Described as “grand, serene, and progressive” (The Needle Drop), the sound is new and the scope is vast; yet, infused with a thrilling immediacy, the music cuts straight to the soul.
A musical family that works – and works hard – at their art, Bent Knee came into being in 2009 at Boston, MA’s Berklee College of Music. Brought together by a shared love of the epic and grand, their individual stories fit together like the pieces of a shattered key that, once assembled, opens the gates to a soaring sonic fortress full of secrets waiting to be revealed.
The band - Courtney Swain (vocals), Ben Levin (guitar), Chris Baum (violin), Jessica Kion (bass), Gavin Wallace-Ailsworth (Drums), & Vince Welch (production and sound design) - wrote the majority of Shiny Eyed Babies collectively, hashing out songs in bedrooms and evolving material on the road. Songs would often start out as thematic, musical, or lyrical ideas, which would then be molded and sculpted by the ensemble into fully realized pieces of music.
This collaborative creative process among such a wide range of backgrounds and influences is painstaking work for a group where musical decisions require unanimity. Yet it’s those beautiful moments when everything falls together, like magic, that reaffirm their dedication to this singular vision.
Distilling the musical lives of six virtuosic obsessives down into something bracingly new, Shiny Eyed Babies is both raw and cerebral; innovation that remains within reach. The album can be enjoyed simply floating on the surface, certainly, but those willing to plunge into its depths will find revealed the hidden secrets that dwell beneath and touch the spark of creativity. Combining both immense depth and musicality with enthralling melody and grand arrangement, Shiny Eyed Babies is high art for masses.