When The Young Knives arrived a few years ago, I welcomed their somewhat abrasive whimsy -- "She's Attracted To" walks a fine line between quirky and wildly annoying -- because the band showed remarkable tunefulness on other cuts ("The Decision" and so on).
On their third full-length album, Ornaments From The Silver Arcade, the band have clearly toned down some elements of their presentation in favor of a stronger sense of melody.
Make no mistake, The Young Knives have not become Coldplay but they are now resembling that late 1980s-era Robyn Hitchcock and the Egyptians where whimsy was still at work but selectively so.
"Love My Name" charms with a hint of XTC's "Making Plans for Nigel", while "Everything Falls Into Place" is straightforward like an old Robbie Williams cut -- I mean that in the best possible way, actually.
"Human Again" is like the thinking man's Kaiser Chiefs while "Running From A Standing Start" is a catchy morning-starter like Blur's "Turn It Up" sung by older men.
"Vision in Rags" sounds like a Colin Moulding-penned XTC song and the influence of that band's 1990s work looms large over The Young Knives' output.
Ornaments From The Silver Arcade charms with its consistency and tunefulness. It feels like the band have found themselves.
They might not record another "Working Hands" but that's okay when the whole album is this listenable.
Ornaments From The Silver Arcade is out now from the usual retailers, virtual and physical.
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