Alex Knight’s understated and devastating tracks have crept under more than a few skins since his signing to I OH YOU a few months ago. Opening for fellow Mushroom act Cloud Control at Melbourne’s Howler, the Newcastle singer-songwriter proved himself an evocative performer.
All acoustic (just the guy and his guitar), Knight didn’t always produce a completely clean sound out of his instrument – there was the buzz of strings not completely pressed down to the fret – but it was a smartly-used effect, conjuring the beautifully bleary spirit of certain tracks.
Moving through tunes from his soon-to-be-released debut Teething, a sense of contained tension in the cords of his neck and the stretch of his lips against his teeth slowly turned the dial to this weird vulnerable/threatening setting (with the emphasis on the former). It’s not just his song structure and guitar tone which recall the gentler moments of Gish-era Pumpkins – the vulnerable/threatening thing is classic baby-faced Billy Corgan.
Knight managed to make the refrain from his current single Talk To Me build to a weep-worthy peak, and he chose his moments of splintered breathiness and bright control perfectly.
Keep your eye out for our review of Teething; you can pre-order the release on vinyl and CD from JB right now.