After a slick slew of singles that laid out the groundwork, made clear their influences and crept by unnoticed (or at least unnoticed by me), ‘wearetheknow’ is our main introduction. Played quiet, it’s a chilled introspection of fuzzed up Phil Spector and glossed 60s girl pop where the wall of sound hums in the background. Played loud it’s a crossbreed of Jesus & Mary Chain and MBV feedback with the feel of Slowdive thickened dreamscapes. ‘Just Like Honey’ never sounded so… Christmassy.
Of course we’ve heard these deep textures before; Beach House’s excellent ‘Depression Cherry’ and ‘7’ both took the same lush-laden templates. But here shoegaze and dreampop takes a more precise route through the bittersweet sadness of Shirelles, Shangri-Las and Chiffons. That 60s production is their lurch to the left, it what splits up The Know from their overcrowded list of contemporary and not-so competition.
‘143’ and ‘Someday Maybe‘ drench the prettiest of vocals with so much sunshine sugar that the light gets drowned out. It’s so blissfully bleak and sarcastic. Where we lay off the feedback, wide synth sounds take over. Where there should be a chorus, there’s a ramping in texture. ‘143’ even takes on that popsong cool key change and pumps up the camp with nu-xylophone sounds. Its over-egged self-awareness is beautiful.
Where ‘143’ bled that sweetness in slowly, ‘Maybe Someday’ is soaked in the stuff. Lucky we have some of the EP’s roughest feedback to grind us back into the earth with an almost industrial grit.
The closest we get to a bum note, call it a lower-spine rub, is the broodingly slow ‘Dreamlike State’. It’s a vast swathe of sounds that congeal at the end into Sonic Boom scuzzed up proportions, and while the ending pays off its too-pristine beginnings, there’s a lack of those needle point throwbacks. But that is the one minor drop in an EP that’s relentlessly charming and cool. Even the new teen pop autotune tricks of ‘Hold Me Like You Know Me’ requires you to forgive their inclusion, they’re just too well dirtied to downright take exception to as they weave into that Phil Spector wall.
As we round off the EP, we diversify, scatter. There’s the loose guitar jangle of J&MC’s ‘Darklands‘ and we hear that there’s more to The Know.
From here on it’s a treacherous route… how to remain the same while still breaking new sounds will be something The Know have to work on. The upside of this brand of shoegaze is its beauty, the downside is limited wiggleroom in a genre defined by it’s unformed feel.