And so the Knew's new songs were born in record time -- though somehow they sound just as immaculately produced as the previous effort was -- with bullshit excluded. Which is fitting, because the band takes a no-bullshit approach to making the kind of old-time rock and roll Bob Seger liked so much (you know, the kind that soothes the soul): An unabashedly classic-rock sound rooted in bluesy hooks and no frills.
And if the get-in-get-out recording process of Before it Ends shows anywhere, it's in that this collection features even fewer frills than usual. Guitars are heavy. Effects are minimal. The title track rides on a searing Raw Power lick and builds to a "Stranglehold"-style breakdown that would make the Nuge himself fire his guns in salute, while opening track "Company" features a simple, exuberant Ramones riff and vocalist Jacob Hansen doing his best Jello Biafra warble. It's all straightforward, high-voltage rock, but the best track is probably closer "The Key."
Opening with the kind of ringing, can't-get-it-out-of-your-head-catchy chord pattern that Keith Richards might have written (and forgotten in a haze of freebase smoke during the Let it Bleed sessions), "The Key" makes efficient use of the quiet-loud dynamic to lend maximum impact to its heavy, Cars-like chorus. And though it's nearly six-minute running time may be a little on the indulgent side, we'll give it to The Knew: These guys have pretty much earned it.
The songs from these sessions are scheduled to appear on a vinyl 7-inch sometime around September, but in the meantime, you can download (or just listen to) "The Key" here, and you can download the rest on The Knew's website for absolutely free. No bullshit.
MP3: "The Key"