Vancouver Island resident Aidan Knight has already shown an admirable knack for storytelling across his first three albums, but on his self-titled fourth album he takes his songwriting to new peaks, immersing the listener in a parallel world where he plays out his own most subversive thoughts.
The caveat to that is actually in the first song though, the incredibly earnest, and somewhat charming ‘Julia in the Garden’, a love song to his wife, and mother of their newly born child. The track exists as if to make sure that she knows, no matter what follows, he still loves her.
Two of the album standouts follow, ‘Sixteen Stares’ and ‘Veni Vidi Vici’ sit next to each other and show off exactly what makes Knight such a compelling artist. His breathy vocals fit beautifully over the two tracks, with crisp drums and bass forming distinctive but similarly restrained grooves.
Elsewhere on the album he explores much darker themes, often placing them within relatively mundane surroundings. On tracks like ‘Rolodex’ he explores what it might be like to divorce, he takes on transphobia on ‘Veni Vidi Vici’ and tackles unrelenting loneliness on the splendid ‘Renovations’.
The album closes with the soulful ‘These Days’ where there must have been a temptation to throw the kitchen sink at the arrangement. But its beauty is much more effective for how stripped back it is, ensuring the album is ending with its only truly sad moment.
The production on the record is conventional for sure, and beyond occasional strings and keys Knight rarely relies on anything other than his voice, guitar, bass and drums. It’s a choice that pays off though, and a testament to his songwriting that he pulls it off. The end result is a meticulously crafted record by a clear student of songwriting.
Words: Nicolas Graves
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