In late 2014, having previously released three EPs, Knife Party released their first studio album, Abandon Ship, which represented a very different creature in the world of EDM. Abandon Ship was a collection of fantastic tracks, but on a more meta scale, it was basically satire. Many of the 12 songs on Abandon Ship saw commentary on the current state of dance music as whole, and although the commentary was not overly forced, it certainly gave the record an edge over similar EDM releases.
A year later, and Knife Party are back with their fourth EP, Trigger Warning, seeing three original tracks and a remix spanning a total of around 17 minutes. Trigger Warning keeps the satirical edge of its predecessor, albeit in a more subtle manner. Indeed, in an interview with Zane Lowe, Rob Swire stated, “we were hearing a lot of music around the time… and hearing all these DJs playing this cheesy… awful stuff and we decided to make some”.
The EP opens and closes with “PLUR Police“, with the latter iteration being a remix courtesy of Jauz. The former version of the song kicks Trigger Warning off in style. The track begins with sparse percussive beats before the lead synth hook comes into focus. The hook takes us through the rest of the track, along with the repeated sample of, “PLUR PLUR Police whatcha gonna do, whatcha gonna do when they come for you?“. The track develops into a bouncy, dark number that generally appears to be pretty by-the-numbers Knife Party. The Jauz eemix does a great job of rearranging the elements of “PLUR Police” into something different, with the focus here being on the huge buildup leading into a dub-infested main verse.
Track two on Trigger Warning, “Parliament Funk” sees Rob and Gareth harkening back to their Pendulum days somewhat. Arpeggiated, staccato synths and some hardcore influences really help to make this track stand out in their discography. There are some very Pendulum-y synths dotted around here, and along with some heavy guitar riffs and drum rolls, there is definitely a sense of a hybrid here. Regardless of intentional or accidental inspiration, “Parliament Funk” is an absolutely cracking tune, channelling the raw feel of Knife Party’s debut EP, 100% No Modern Talking.
“Kraken” is the final original track on Trigger Warning, and seems to find a medium in-between “PLUR Police” and “Parliament Funk”. The track opens with loose staccato beats and synths before the incredibly catchy lead sample comes in, “non stop, we take it up / put to the pedal to the floor we take it up / more noise wake them up / from the back to the front we wake them up”. The sample carries strong Daft Punk elements to it, altering pitch and tone as the song progresses. “Kraken” features groove-EDM producer Tom Staar, and his influences can be heard nicely meshing with Knife Party’s. “Kraken” is the best track on the EP, a hugely energetic track that leaves one hoping for more Knife Party collaborations.
While “Kraken” is the best track on the EP, the other three songs are fantastic as well, and the collection as a whole shows that Knife Party is still capable of putting out terrific tracks. Rob Swire may have intended for this EP to be a further piece of satire, but this notion is quickly forgotten listening to Trigger Warning. Out now on Earstorm Records/Warner Music, purchase Knife Party’s Trigger Warning on iTunes here.
Words by Sam Jourdan