Bloody Knees - Bloody Knees [EP]
They sound like they hail from the same dingy, murky crevice of California that lo-fi fuzz merchants FIDLAR do, but Bloody Knees are of a more Cambridgian ilk. The four childhood friends that make up the slacker-rock quartet are similarly dishevelled like the Cali hedonists (who they've actually performed with), similarly aggressive in their apathy and similarly fond of weaving scuzzy melodic punk ditties. The members of Bloody Knees are also quite partial to skateboarding and horror movies, with lead vocalist Bradley Griffiths reckoning that his amour with gore is related to working a hospital cleaner. Nice.
This eponymous EP is their first adventure into the realm of releases. Brimming with moshtastic skater riffs á la any OST of the early games in Tony Hawks franchise (they go downhill after THUG 2), it's a cheerfully grisly collection of songs: "I won't sing about your murder anymore!" croons Griffiths amongst the bracken-y undergrowth of whirligig riffs on 'Ears, Eyes, Ohs and Yous'. He's no Sinatra, but his imperfect, hoarse vocals are apt for Bloody Knees' abrasive style – he doesn't need a voice that spans five octaves if he's howling down a mic backed by chunky licks and flailing beats.
Though their whole aesthetic and nonchalant schtick is entirely derived from the sun-swept shores of L.A. and other southwestern cities - Britain has never been particularly versed in skateboarding, no matter how hard we wish we were - and they hark back to Danzig and The Misfits for inspiration, there's still a tenacious Britishness. Griffiths' caterwauling is ever-so-slightly Lydon-esque on '100 Days', and there's the odd whiff of Arctic Monkeys pungently stinking up the otherwise splendid noise on the aforementioned 'Ears, Eyes, Ohs and Yous'.
Bloody Knees may still be wet behind the ears, and deliberately or not, they've freshly baked an update for the skate-punk revival. The focus is far sharper on melodies and pop hooks, whereas with FIDLAR and other upstarts of the genre, there tends to be a blinkered passion for singing about the Bacchanalian. Bloody Knees stow their intoxication for Bloody Knees, and instead wallow in deep topics like vomit, kickflips and viscera.