Kneebody’s new album Anti-Hero is definitely not for just an(knee)body. Their music is an acquired taste — they fuse experimental funk, rock and jazz, which might not be for everyone.
The combination of these different genres simply were not meant to be, just like pickles are not meant to be on a peanut butter sandwich or like pineapple on pizza. It contains elements the universe never intended to integrate.
Some people are into that stuff, but some don’t associate themselves with such people, or with such genres. At first listen, it could be said these songs were reminiscent of what I considered to be “coffee shop music,” but that was only due to the jazzy features of the saxophone and trumpet. As the songs progress, they become way too intense for a coffee shop as more rock, funk and electronic components are added into the mix of songs, seemingly out of place.
It was hard to get through this entire album. The songs were solely instrumental, so listeners anxiously wait for vocals that never arrive. For those who are fans of music that can be either sang to, danced to or used as background studying music, this album does not serve that purpose.
After listening to only the first few songs, “For the Fallen,” “Uprising” and “Drum Battle,” they all seemed to mesh together. They either start off with a trumpet or sax paired with drums.
After what seems to be a simplistic jazz set, there are always awkward transitions into completely different funky styles, which give listeners the equivalent of a bad taste not in their mouths, but in their ears.
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I barely made it through listening to the album in its entirety. The tracks spanned from a minimum of three minutes with some up to ten minutes in length. The repetition of similar notes throughout caused me to question my own hearing abilities.
There is only so much of the same instruments that can be listened to over and over again before pausing and putting on some Trey Songz instead (I understand not every artist can be as talented and beautiful as my favorite R&B heartthrob, but this album was disappointing nevertheless).
I was surprised the song “Anti-Hero,” which the album was named after, did not leave any impression on me at all as being different than any of the other tunes. That could also be due to how my eardrums were practically begging me to play something else instead. I also did not understand how any of these titles correlated with the melodies except for “Drum Battle,” which speaks for itself.
The two songs, however, that did hold my attention were “The Balloonist” and “Mikie Lee.” The beginning of “The Balloonist” had a more upbeat tone to it, and the band incorporated piano, trumpets and percussion beats together in a way that seems as if it could be the opening theme song to a sitcom.
“Mikie Lee” incorporated jazz and sci-fi electronic beats without coming across as too choppy or harsh. I wouldn’t say I loved them, I’d just say they aren’t as bad.
In the end, it’s impressive people can play instruments at all, so kudos to Kneebody for having musical talent. It can’t be denied they are skilled musicians with their individual instruments, but they failed to collaborate in a manner that is audibly pleasing.
I wish I could have time travelled back to a time before I ever pressed play. A time before my ears were corrupted by this musical atrocity. I must note that some people out there will find this album to their liking, but they are probably the type of people who ask for extra mayo on the side.