Knifeworld: ‘Pissed Up On Brakefluid’ single, 2009 (“a superb collision of inflated guilt, speeding offences and comedy rock’n’roll Satanism”)

15 Jul
Knifeworld: 'Pissed Up On Brakefluid'

Knifeworld: ‘Pissed Up On Brakefluid’

“I gotta tell you / It muddies up my karma when I fuck up in this way…”

Debut singles are usually about intent. Here, Knifeworld go for a superb collision of inflated guilt, speeding offences and comedy rock’n’roll Satanism. By some distance, it’s the straightest song from their enthrallingly convoluted debut album. By all other standards it’s a belting rock driver, simultaneously pulling off the trick of being compulsive, tremendously hooky, touching and hysterically funny.

For those of us with long enough memories, it’s a reminder that the man behind Knifeworld – Kavus Torabi – was also the main guy behind The Monsoon Bassoon’s  single Wise Guy, a blazing spool of full-tilt psychedelic origami which briefly ran rampant at the tail end of Britpop. Gonzo title aside, Pissed Up on Brake Fluid isn’t quite as outrageous, but the same giddy energy and power is there in the decorative breakneck riffing, skidding vocal trails and horn explosions.

Buried somewhere in here is the old blues story of a guilty man running away and signing a horrible deal with the Devil down at the crossroads. This gives Kavus the opportunity to rip the piss out of various diabolical/death-metal cliches (“I got a hit from the chalice, / I got a church burning lust”) and disaster-ridden motoring puns abound for our anti-hero. Harried by burning tyres, missing brakes and hellish pile-ups as his deal unravels, he’s already damned by his own conscience. As the metal begins to hurtle he’s still beating himself up over his original let-downs and break-ups.

Never mind the big horny feller – we build our own Hell. At least the zestful flavours of clap-along rockabilly and Black Francis looning which infest this song suggest that the journey itself is quite a kick. And that’s even before you hear the elated shriek which pops up at the height of the comic despair.

It certainly couldn’t be much further from the beautiful B-side. Like an eerie dream on a submarine, Happy Half-life, Dear Friends swims skeletally into view out of shadows of guitar parts. Clinks, depth-charge booms and backwards bass-piano stomps wash and ebb around in the mix. Over a swaying ladder of guitar and toy keyboards, Kavus and co-singer Mel Woods deliver a hovering duet.

It’s never quite clear what they’re singing about, locked as they are into distant intercom vocals. With words like “winter”, “crippled infantry” and “deceit” bleeding through, it can’t be good. Still, as the song builds to a strangely lulling peak filled with a cloud of hornlike guitar sustain, it could almost be possible to forget the approaching peril… even while gazing at that beautiful (and very solid) wall hurtling straight towards you.

Knifeworld: ‘Pissed Up On Brakefluid’
Believer’s Roast, BRR 001
7-inch/download single
Released: 13th July 2009

Get it from:
Genepool or Burning Shed

Knifeworld online:
Homepage Facebook Twitter MySpace Bandcamp

One Response to “Knifeworld: ‘Pissed Up On Brakefluid’ single, 2009 (“a superb collision of inflated guilt, speeding offences and comedy rock’n’roll Satanism”)”

  1. Dann Chinn June 7, 2012 at 12:33 am #

    The second in a series of Knifeworld catch-up reviews. Coming very shortly – 2011’s ‘Dear Lord, No Deal’ EP, to be followed by the ‘Clairvoyant Fortnight’ EP (due for release June 13th).

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