Hit Man Dreams

Underrated and Influential: No Knife

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When we look back at music history, especially in rock music, there are so many bands that should have been huge but, for whatever reason, they weren’t. That’s not to say that they didn’t leave a lasting impact on those that did listen to them. Throughout the years, I’ve spent many a day and night delving deeper into the 90’s and discovering a plethora of bands that I never truly gave a full listen to when they first came out. One such band that I’ve really come to love and draw inspiration from is No Knife. This band originally from San Diego, California, was quite special. They had this very cool style of mixing, bits of post hardcore, math rock, and what we now refer to as “indie” rock. Through their career, No Knife released four full length albums and went on to influence and inspire so many other bands that in a way, copped their sound. 

Going back through the bands catalog, and really listening, you come out of it not only inspired but, with an understanding as to why they are commonly referred to as a “band’s band.” Their debut album, Drunk On The Moon (1996), has this really interesting melodic sense to it that cuts through like a knife (no pun intended). It’s a very 90’s sounding album but, if it were to come out in say the early mid 00’s you’d think this was a new band from that era. Their next album Hit Man Dreams, (1997) was actually the first album I heard from No Knife. Original guitarist/vocalist Aaron Mancini was replaced by Ryan Ferguson. This album is a bit more melodic but, also seems to have more of an “edge” to it.  To me, and this is just my opinion, this is the album that No Knife really found their sound on. I strongly suggest you taking a listen to all their albums but, Hit Man Dreams specifically. I think this is the one that will make you fall in love with the band. Following these two albums, drummer Ike Zaremba was replaced with Chris Prescott and the band continued on. Their next album, Fire In The City Of Automatons (1999), was another step in the bands evolution. This one has more of a “math rock” approach to the rhythms while still keeping true to its melodic undertones. The bands final album Riot For Romance (2002), really fit in perfectly for where their genre was heading but, sadly didn’t quite capture the audience that their peers like Jimmy Eat World did. Even though, No Knife was clearly the better band. In 2003, the band sadly broke up. Though in 2009 they did reunite for a few shows in the San Diego area. And most recently, they were the special guest at one of Jawbox’s reunion shows in Los Angeles in 2019.


All in all, through No Knife’s short but inspiring history, they forged a sound that would be highly touted and recognized by countless bands and their peers. No Knife are the type of band that should have been huge but, thankfully, we have four great albums to go back to and celebrate. I personally think that if they were to come back with an EP and go out on the road with a band like Thrice (imagine how amazing that tour would be), it would open a whole new door for the band and people can really get a chance to discover how great this band truly is. 

Drunk On The Moon:

 

Hit Man Dreams:

 

 

Fire In The City Of Automatons:

 


Riot For Romance:

 

 

By: Brian Lacy