The Young Knives: Oh Happiness

The Young Knives forsake the traditional label approach and go indie; and make the best music of their career.

Rating: 7.0 out of 10
The cover image of Oh Happiness by The Young Knives

The Young Knives are, one would assume, a successful band. They've had a fair bit of national TV coverage, a few high-profile licensing synchs, and most tellingly, their first two albums were released by major-indie Transgressive. But appearances can be deceptive and despite the veneer of comfortable mid-league success, the Young Knives were not as happy with the arrangement as an outsider might have assumed.

Armed with just a few critically-acclaimed but not-too-highly-charting albums, the band cut their ties with Transgressive to release their third long-player, Ornaments from the Silver Arcade, on their own ‘label’, Gadzook in 2011. Last month band leader Henry Dartnall announced the release of the Young Knives' latest EP, Oh Happiness (and an up-coming LP due in the autumn) in an article for the Huffington Post, in which he outlined the band's reasons for going totally-independent:

“A prime example of money spunked away in the name of Young Knives include the cover shoot for our sophomore record Superabundance which cost £20,000 (something we found out afterwards), you really should be able to make a couple of records for that much money. So we sacked everyone and bought a mixing desk off eBay for £1,000.”

A risky strategy, to be sure, but one that has certainly paid off artistically, at least. Free to experiment, and spurred on by the fast-becoming-ubiquitous Kickstarter backing, the Young Knives have crafted an EP that easily surpasses all their previous work. Oh Happiness is definitely rougher round the edges, production wise, but they were never a particularly slick band, anyway, and what really comes across in this little batch of songs is a band not afraid to take an idea and run with it, and consequences be damned. Great stuff, I'm sure you'll agree.

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