CLUAS Album Reviews

Michael Knight (I'm Not Entirely Clear...)

Jun 23

Written by:
Monday, June 23, 2008  RssIcon

A review of the album I'm Not Entirely Clear How I Ended Up Like This by Michael Knight

Review Snapshot:  Don't judge a book by a cover, or so older wiser people tend to tell you.  However, what are you to do when the cover is far more interesting than the content? 

The Cluas Verdict? 3 out of 10

Full Review:
Buying/receiving albums in bulk; it can often be weeks/months/years before I get around to actually removing them from their packaging, never mind listening to them.  I'm Not Entirely Clear How I Ended Up Like ThisSometimes though, an albums artwork is such that it moves swiftly to the top of the playlist.  Such was the case with I'm Not Entirely Clear How I Ended Up Like This, the second album from Michael Knight, not a person, but a collective of musicians under the stewardship of Dublin Born/Berlin Based Richie Murphy.  Designed to look like a well read book, it has the subtitle: 'A Somewhat Disjointed Narrative in 11 Tableaux'  and the lyrics are printed in the style of a play.  If that's not enough for you, the listener has a choice of two disks, one with the songs as they were recorded and a second disk of instrumental versions.

Unfortunately, that's as good as it gets with I'm Not Entirely Clear... as what follows is 35 minutes of acoustic doodling that too often confuses self-deprecation with self-consciousness and song structure with overwrought orchestral arrangements.   Combined with Murphy's weak vocals it all adds up to something akin vanilla cheesecake; somebody may have put a great deal of effort into making it and it may contain lots of fine ingredients but the final product is just too bland for my tastes.  Besides, Neil Hannon and Stephen Merritt already carry this faux-vaudeville act with much more panache. 

That being said, there are moments of pleasure on I'm Not Entirely Clear...  The deliciously dark Coronation Street sees Murphy and Nina Hynes (her vocals being by far and a way the brightest star in an otherwise dull sky) duet over the albums most interestingly arranged track.  Lyrically there is a great deal of humour in the words but as with most of the tracks on the album it often feels like you're being excluded from one big in joke.  The instrumental disk is also worth a listen once, just to hear some of the more interesting structures and chord changes but begins to sound like the soundtrack to an art installation towards the end.

Michael Knight state that this album is 'a comically failed attempt to repackage humiliating personal episodes with the joke on someone else.'  Perhaps the joke's on me and that's why I'm not laughing.

Steven O'Rourke

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