When Australian DnB come rock band Pendulum announced their split in the summer of 2012, a little part of the electronic dance scene’s soul evaporated.
However, out of the flames rose the phoenix as thankfully Rob Swire’s passion for making hard hitting music never showed any signs of swaying. Along with trusty side kick Gareth McGrillen came Knife Party.
The new EP ‘Haunted House’, with 3 new tracks and one ‘VIP’, takes influences from oldskool Ibiza dance tracks, as well as darker, and more modern ”drumstep”.
It gets started with the Pendulum-esque ‘Power Glove’ which gets the EP off to a pleasant start – nothing too heavy but you still feel the full impact. The distorted bass chains and recurring high pitched voices that were a mainstay during the Pendulum era are most definitely present here, giving the song an eerie but welcoming mystique.
Rob Swire did mention on the demise of Pendulum that he just wanted to make the music he enjoyed rather than doing something for the sake of the record label, and that is very much apparent with the second track ‘LRAD’.
A song that wouldn’t sound out of place on a Ministry of Sound Ibiza Anthems album, this track builds and builds until it drops into a mellow sound of hollow drums – not really the smack in the face you were expecting. Still, something different from the boys here, and something I’m sure the likes of Calvin Harris would be proud of. It most certainly shows off the versatility of the duo.
Next up is the best track on the EP, ‘EDM Death Machine’. This is the kind of tune that Knife Party is all about, and what modern electronic music has become. With a reference to pop culture at the beginning (In the future, nobody will drop the bass…. no one will do the Harlem Shake), you are almost thrust into the tone of the song immediately.
It takes the middle ground for about 90 seconds, before unleashing a malevolent force of bass on your eardrums (bassy headphones are a MUST). But they come up with a bit more than just a tasty drop. The next section of the song is very relaxed, as it changes tempo into something akin to the Ibiza vibe of ‘LRAD’ that came before it. The ones with more trained ears for dance music will pick up on the fact that this does sound a little like Darude’s iconic ”Sandstorm” with a bit of a twist.
The final song on the EP is a rework of Knife Party’s marquee song ‘Internet Friends’ (best known for the ”blocked me on Facebook” lyric at the drop). They have changed a few melodies here and there, but nothing really to get too wound up about. It does seem to be a huge hit with the live crowd, however.
So a difficult conclusion. ‘Haunted House’ is strong, but not as strong as the KP releases to come before it. However, that is not going to stop these tracks being smashed out in tents at every summer festival going, so you had better get used to it.