Young Knives Superabundance

After eight years trying to get a foot in the door, England’s Young Knives broke through in 2006 with the Gang of Four-leaning, Andy Gill-produced Voices of Animals and Men. The album made them unlikely indie stars in the UK and earned them a Mercury Prize nod. On Superabundance, however, the razor-sharp edge this gang of three established themselves with has been softened and polished, and the piss and vinegar that fuelled them has curdled into oil and water. With its heavy strings and adult contemporary pop tone, "Turn Tail” is the kind of big song you’d expect them to cave in and pull out six albums and three reunions from now, while "Rue the Days” sounds nothing at all like the band we know as Young Knives, and a little too much like Dodgy (remember them?). The best songs, like the familiar "Counters” and the successful pop upgrade of "Dyed in the Wool,” don’t come often enough and the Young Knives as we knew them have fallen in favour of trying to sound like every other pop act. Difficult second album, for sure, but you knew a band with a bassist named House of Lords weren’t going to stick around for too long. (Trangressive/Warner)