John Knox Sex Club’s highly anticipated new album Oh wow! Must be the devil is provocative, powerful and energetic, maintaining the band’s revolutionary yet poetic stance cemented within the previous two critically acclaimed albums.
Oh wow! Must be the devil still endorses the street-preacher enthusiasm and wall-of-sound explosions that the band are recognised for, yet the framework of the album has matured to consist of five enigmatic, individual and well-structured tracks which demonstrate the band’s talents.
First track ‘Minotaur’ starts with a tense bass line which gives the song its restless foundation and the lyrics all sung in unison “here we are we start in the middle, here we are where we begin” give the song a sense of unity, the track then breaks off into a raucous performance of shrieking eerie violin combined with overdriven, raw guitar and compelling lyrics drawn from political change and personal understanding.
‘Hard Days’ starts as a fiery, frenzied authoritative instrumental piece of pure shoegaze noise and piercing stringed notes that would lift the hairs on anyone’s neck, but then slows down and propels the lyrics “they’ll be hard days to come” that become the statement forced in the song, the band knows exactly how to build up the rise in the shrill tones of the violin and droning roar of the guitars producing a track of surges rather than peaks and falls.
Halfway through the album ‘A Song in Sleep’ starts more harmoniously with a softer guitar riff compared to the dark and fierce arrangement of the rest of the album, the song strengthens as it progresses and the intricate guitar riffs blended with a more punk style makes this a fitting halfway track to show diversity between the discordant first two.
‘Animals’ was the first track first released from the album on a split single with Over the Wall, the pervasive, sporadic development of the song adds to its boldness and the steady crashing of the drums keep the melody alive, the chorus is more melodic and easier to grasp but then jumps straight back into the episodic arrangement, which consists of high-pitched riffs played in unison creating a dissonant very individual track.
‘Ashes’ also differs from the dark and eerie tracks on the album as it has a recognisable blues and folk tone, the complex drum beat drives the guitar riffs and the pitch of voice fuels the blues influence, whereas the violin hints at old melodies from Scottish folk songs, this is the most cordial of track of the album and highlights the band’s more mellow approach to music.
Oh wow! Must be the devil proves that John Knox Sex Club’s individual approach to music is different to anything contemporary music is doing and the album’s mix of dark and delicate styles confirm that they are a band worth watching.
Words: Louis Jenkins