In one of many upcoming collabs on the Sights and Sounds, two of our writers, James Kabat and Kavit Sumud, tackle the new Knocks single (a band we deeply support here at the Sights and Sounds for bringing intelligence to dance). For this single, check out a letter from the band and the track at the bottom, but give our commentary a shot, too.
And it feeeeeeels so classic…except that it doesn’t. Don’t get me wrong, this is some solid, grade A, satiating soul mixed through the synthy meat grinder and lacquered with a solid commercial sheen. It’s sure to slip right into the club rotation of a thousand DJs. But it’s a bit like a club boy trying to pick me up, and normally at the sheer sight of mainstream, of that plastic sheen, I’d say: “Well, I’ll only take you home once you wash off that commercial grade KY off, like, all of your body”. But what saves the Knocks is their committment to emotions, to connecting, of injecting themself into the blogosphere and the stratosphere of your 1am club crawls by trying to tap into a universal sense of feeling. So it doesn’t come off like KY, but rather like liquid light trickling down your dance partners as you lilt not just your voices to the music, but also your hips in tandem. Although I miss the days when the Knocks put out tracks like ‘Learn To Fly’, their progression as artists is still an exciting arc to follow.
What do you think James, of the single in the history of the band’s trajectory?
I’d be lying if I said that this track doesn’t remind me of every summer memory I’ve ever had: lying on the beach in Costa Brava and watching the girls play beach ball or watching the sunset at Cafe Del Mar with a Corona in my hand, or sitting on a blanket and snuggling with a significant other; the list goes on… When talking to James “Mr. JPatt” Patterson earlier this week about it, he told me that “It finally sounds right. I’m more happy with it than anything (else) we’ve ever made.” Perhaps, I understand what he’s saying. Classic exudes a chill-out vibe not only characteristic of summer but of artists being completely satisfied with their work; a summertime (but not exclusively) feeling so vivid that it can only be expressed through a song.
Although, undeniably ready for commercial airwaves, in retrospect to The Knocks’ earlier work, Classic sounds like they have finally reached a level of confidence that they’ve been striving for for the entire duration of their career. Perhaps, the indie retro vibes of songs like Dancing With the DJ and Modern Hearts are gone, but instead, we have something much more club ready that’s begging for an extended mix and a gazillion of big name remixes, a late summer smash that perfectly recaps what summer should be all about while managing to sound like nothing that’s currently on the radio yet able to perfectly fit into any top 40 playlist.
Furthermore, let’s not forget the vocal. The band Powers vocalist’s ability to sound completely laid back but not at all like she’s compromising any part of her voice or herself, is remarkable, to say the least. Not only does it perfectly fit in with the vibe of the track, but it manages to still sound personal and unique; a quality that many vocalists today would probably kill for given the current manufactured state of popular music.
For those that argue that the track is too commercial or are willing to go as far as to say that The Knocks are “selling out” for a hit, I say that you’re simply not getting it. Every good artist deserves the mainstream audience’s recognition sooner or later. Whether that’s the goal here, I am not sure, but what I am sure of is that The Knocks are long overdue for a big hit and it’s well deserved. So why shouldn’t they have one?