Knife Party – Abandon Ship


By Andrew

About time! This has to be one of the most highly anticipated albums in the world of dance music in the past few years, notwithstanding the abominable Daft Punk fiasco which will no longer be named on this blog. Abandon Ship has been pushed back further and further release date wise and even this particular version (probably the last) was accidentally leaked by iTunes itself during the beginning of November. But does it stand up to the heavy publicity and anticipation it solicits?

Knife Party, for those that don’t know, are a duo of ex Pendulum collaborators making it on their own in a more dubstep and ‘bangers’ incarnation. Rob Swires and Gareth McGrillen are fast becoming legends in the dance world with gigs across the world shining the limelight on the Australian dance scene. Similarly the way Melbourne Bounce has finally gotten the city’s name pronounce properly by Americans, Abandon Ship sets the stage for an all-out Australian assault on the rather humdrum dance music scene of the last few years. But not long after announcing their debut LP, murmurs about the death of EDM started to circle and suggestions to Swires and McGrillen leaned precariously towards them just releasing all three previous Eps as an album to fulfil the contract and getting the fuck out of dodge and back to Pendulum. In true Swires form, stating “I realised that if an artist I liked released an album of old tunes, I’d be pissed off”, the album was written from scratch and twelve songs hit the release date two weeks earlier than expected.

Abandon Ship is a quirky little album. Not content with just producing the rousing bangers they are renown for, there are some very cheeky additions which beg you to take notice. Ranging mostly through electro, house and dancefloor bangers are some bizarre disco, garage and funk soul tracks but delivered in an almost self-referential way as if self-aware of the stupidity, the death of their respective dance styles and deliberately trying to say ‘We can do this better than anyone’. I guess its anyone’s choice to believe they have pulled this off or failed, but you have to give them credit for handling it this way. Unlike Disclosure, whose garage throwback was basically just that; a throwback, Abandon Ship’s trips through dance music history are almost homage and in many ways, elevated.

In amongst the tracklisting are a bunch of extra cheeky references to other songs and ‘Give It Up’ even lays it out for fans with the build up, drop and even the chorus pointing towards previous hit ‘Bonfire’ – “BO-Give It Up!”. ‘EDM Trend Machine’ has the balls to tell it like it is with garage/house style track with a punchy build which basically kicks you in the balls and then returns to the common style being led out in the death of EDM right now. Plain, boring, housy trash that’s played from a CD while long haired half Asian DJs and pretty boy knob twiddlers instead of pushing boundaries in their genre.

Overall I have to say I’m not particularly impressed by the entire album, but there are more than a few tracks to keep you coming back. I know I will use quite a few in future sets over 2015, but album of 2014 it is not. It feels a little hobbled in its delivered and its inception and although I would have gotten any Knife Party album they released, I think the strength of previous EPs overshadow this album just a tiny bit. After all, this is the duo that brought you Internet Friends and how can anyone come any further along than that?


7/10 EDM Deathstalkers {Abrasive Andy}