Album Review
Lucinda Black Bear - Knives Album Cover

Lucinda Black Bear - Knives

Reviewed by
Lucinda Black Bear - Knives
Record Label: Eastern Spurs
Release Date: Nov. 2, 2010
This review was written by an AP.net staff member.
Lucinda Black Bear is a New York chamber pop quintet fonted by Christian Gibbs.

How is it?

If the world were truly utopian, there woud be far more bands making music like Lucinda Black Bear. Moreover, if this New York City collective does not turn heads in the next few months, there is something criminally wrong with the status of popular music in America. Boasting an uncanny resemblance to Arcade Fire, Knives kicks and spits with coiled rage, poetic prose and enough strings to make Phillip Glass blush. Dark, piano-laden and incredibly magnetic, the title track features lines like, "Shut me down, shut me out, I don't care which way. I just want to be with you. Hey man there's a Jesus freak coming my way. My knives are out in December."

Bolstered by saturnine guitars, and fractious vocals the cut is tempered by the sturdy veneer of a cello, while "Percival," features circular guitar work, gorgeous vocals and forlorn crooning. The entire sentiment is tepid and moody and pretty much sets the course for the duration of the disc. "Hand Bible" features a palette of strings, gentle strains of an acoustic guitar and a meditative tempo. After three minutes of placidity, the pace quickens and the song finds its way into your heart. The final four minutes are nothing short of pure unadulterated chamer pop bliss.

And so goes the epic and often ebullient journey of Lucinda Black Bear. With a sonic landscape that is highly nuanced, luxuriant, nocturnal and undeniably haunting. Jaunty cuts like "Laugh At My Tears," and "Buried In The Ivy," feature fractious energy, while ruminative cuts "She's a Killer," and "Thundering Revolt," point to 1970s folk pop a la The Band. On the understated simplicity of "Suffocation Blues," the collective finds their footing though. Rather than employ sonic histrionics, the group lets Gibbs' inherent magnetism do all the work.

And yet for all the charming moments on Knives, few are as impressive as the album's closing triumvirate. "Up on the Mend," calls to mind Ryan Adams circa 29, while "Antiquity's Ash," does its best Mumford and Sons impression. And then as if fully cognizant of just how important a stirring conclusion truly is, the wistful and deeply melancholic "For a Thimbelful," channels the Fab Four.

When it's all said and done, the urge to hit repeat is far too hard to pass up.

Track Listing 1. Knives
2. Percival
3. Hand Bible
4. Laugh At My Tears
5. She's a Killer
6. Buried In the Ivy
7. Thundering Revolt!
8. Suffocation Blues
9. Up On The Mend
10. Antiquity's Ash
11. For a Thimbulful

Recommended If You Like Araade Fire, Laura Marling, Mumford and Sons, Ryan Adams, The Wallflowers

Find Them Here Website
Displaying posts 1 - 4 of 4
01:41 AM on 11/25/10
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Thank you Greg for the review. What a great band! I am going to be checking them out at Rockwood Music Hall on Dec 9. Hope they will play the album in its entirety. My friends are getting hooked on these guys and gals, too. I think my fav members are Chad Hammer (love that cello) and Gillian Rivers (play the violin, girl!) but love them as a whole.
11:18 AM on 03/16/11
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A friend just introduced me to Lucinda Black Bear a few weeks ago and I cannot get enough. This review is dead on, they remind me of a mix of Arcade Fire and Avett Brothers but with true meaning. The lyrics fit the music nicely and actually mean something which is rare these days. I looked into them a little more and they are playing a show at Union Hall in Brooklyn on April 9th. I'm definitely going to be there! Thanks for rocking Lucinda Black Bear, NYC needs more music like this! In case you want to check them out I included a few links below:


10:56 AM on 03/19/11
alexander r
Music is important, people!
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Think Lucinda Black Bear's Knives may be the best album of 2010/2011. The musicianship is so bloody incredible. In fact, it is amazing how they're so many bands that have more exposure but so less talents (blips and beeps does not make you talented on its own, man/woman). Think my favorites on the album are Knives, For a Thimbleful (did I spell it, right?) and Up on the Mend.

@nycMUSIC I am going to check them out at Union Hall on April 9. Should be a good show.

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