Sunday, June 21, 2015

CD Review: The Knack Gets Revived With New Reissues From Omnivore Recordings

American rock band The Knack blasted onto the music scene in 1979 with their #1 selling debut album "Get The Knack," which featured their most popular single "My Sharona." As quickly as the band's career took off, they disbanded just as quickly in 1982 after failing to re-capture the success of their debut album. After almost a decade, The Knack re-grouped to record and release the 1991 record "Serious Fun." The band would find success with the re-discovery of their hit single "My Sharona" featured in the 1994 Generation-X movie "Reality Bites." Building upon that success, The Knack re-entered the studio to record the album "Zoom" (1998) and "Normal As The Next Guy" (2001).  To celebrate the band's final three albums, Omnivore Recordings is reissuing the albums on CD with bonus tracks.

The album "Zoom" features a clean, polished rock sound amongst a grunge-filled musical period. The band's energy and songwriting was at an all-time high as you find yourself rocking out to these classic sounding numbers. Their sixties influences are heard all throughout the album with the pop/rock feel of "Can I Borrow A Kiss" and "Everything I Do." While fans will enjoy re-discovering the band's latter releases, the bonus tracks are what they will be most excited about. Included on the expanded edition of "Zoom" is the song "She Says," recorded for The Knack's 1998 "greatest hits" release, but even more enjoyable for fans are the demo versions of three songs from the album. The best of these is the raw sounding "Harder On You" as it has an urgency to its sound in the demo form. This new version of "Zoom" closes with a previously unissued version of "My Sharona," re-recorded with Terry Bozzio (Frank Zappa, Missing Persons) on drums.

Their follow-up album "Normal As The Next Guy" was The Knack's last full studio album as it failed to catch the attention of the music buying public. The songs still have that classic pop/rock sound, but has now seemed played out with the mellow sounds of "Girl I Never Lied To You" and "The Man On The Beach." They also give it their all, with the energetic "It's Not Me" and "Normal As The Next Guy" as the post-punk sound helped paved the path for popular punk-rock music. The real treasure comes with the final three songwriting demo versions of "Seven Days Of Heaven," "Spiritual Pursuit" and "Reason To Live." These stripped down versions of the songs showcase the true feelings behind the lyrics.

Rounding out this new re-issue campaign is the soundtrack to the band's performance in front of a live studio audience that was filmed for a DVD release. Here we get the complete show, remastered with the inclusion of the previously unreleased live versions of "It's Not Me" and "Seven Days Of Heaven." The album "Live At The Rock N Roll Fun House" was the perfect way to showcase The Knack to the next generation of fans. They perform songs from throughout their career, with the focus on their most recent album "Normal As The Next Guy." The album (and show) finish with a rocking version of "My Sharona" and "(Haven' A) Rave Up," before performing covers of "Tequila" and Break On Through" with just the right touch of The Knack sound. To find out more about these great new releases from The Knack, please visit omnivorerecordings.com.

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