kNIFE & fORK – The Higher You Get the Rarer the Vegetation
From Magic Band member to stints backing the likes of PJ Harvey, Eric Drew Feldman’s CV exudes pedigree. For kNIFE & Fork – a collaboration with vocalist Laurie Hall that began with 2004’s Miserycord – Feldman steps out from esteemed shadows to prove himself as proficient at developing his own music as he is at servicing the songwriting of others.
Of the aforementioned acts, The Higher You Get… hews closer to Polly Jean’s gothic dramatics than Beefheart’s surrealism, despite its Dali-quoting title. This is partly due to Hall’s evocative vocals and lyrics, which run a gamut of registers, from haunting desperation on Tightrope to sleazy sexuality on grungy highlight Pocket Rocket. The album peaks with ten-minute opus The Revelator: an odyssey of desire and decay that carries an enriching cabaret tint without succumbing to the outer reaches of melodrama. Little else matches its considerable stature, but the album nonetheless brims with confidence and mystery.