Knowso - Rare Auld Trip / Psychological Garden LPDrunken Sailor Records (UK)
All caught up with last 2020's blast of herky-jerky darkness from Knowso? Don't get too comfy, now -- nine months later, they're back with another eight hits of visceral smarts and discombobulating fury. Sounding, as ever, like Big Black firing pellets of snot at their Cleveland forebears Devo, Rare Auld Trip/Psychological Garden finds them picking up where they left off with Specialtronics Green Vision (DRUNKEN 130LP). This being the best part of a year on from that excellent debut, though, they sound wiser, snarkier and more pissed off than ever before -- good news all round, then. Opener "Boredom In The Valley" reintroduces their signature tricks but feels more focused; a sub-two minute blast of staggered beats powered by the gnarliest-sounding bass this side of Bob Weston, and a disaffected vocal styling that you'd be tempted to call nihilist if you couldn't sense the number of fucks given beneath the impassive facade. They pick up the pace with "Staring At The Spiral", which almost sounds like the Buzzcocks unravelling at the seams while a Vogon watches on, before crashing into the smash'n'grab antics of "The Plants" -- one of the record's clear highlights and a frantic, dizzying trip. Along the way are enough bon mots and smartarse quips too make you wonder if they're taking this as seriously as they should. Let's not spoil the highlights in advance, but if you're already on board with Knowso, you'll know they're simultaneously utterly hilarious and unquestionably, deadly serious. "I could never be friends with a fucker such as you," they snarl disgustedly on another of the record's instant classics, but by this point you'll already have given your heart over to this most delirious of post-punk/noise-rock hybrids. As the closing cacophony of voices on "4th Wonder" will no doubt drive into your brain with overwhelming force, Rare Auld Trip/Psychological Garden (you pays your money and you takes your choice with the title, presumably) is not to be missed.