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The Knitters

The Modern Sounds of The Knitters – 2005 (Zoe/Rounder)

Reviewed by Dan MacIntosh

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CDs by The Knitters

The title of this, only the second ever Knitters studio CD, is intended to be funny: You see, there's really nothing modern about the folk and country these SoCal hillbillies create. About the only thing truly "new" with this recording, is the way these primarily day job punk rockers (including John Doe, Exene Cervenka, and DJ Bonebrake of X) put roots-y spins on previously rocking tunes. Such musical makeovers range from X's own "Burning House of Love" to a less wild take on Steppenwolf's "Born To Be Wild." One song, "The New Call of the Wreckin' Ball," even updates an old Knitters' song lyrically, whereas the cover of The Stanley Brothers' "Rank Stranger" holds fairly faithful to the original.

Although unplugged, Doe and Cervenka's twisted harmonies are still a treat on the ears, and Dave Alvin's presence on electric lead guitar is always welcome. It doesn't hurt that the group has pulled together a winning collection of songs, either. There's social commentary aplenty saturating tracks like "Skin Deep Town" (concerning modern day superficiality) and "The New Call of the Wreckin' Ball," which comes off a little bit like a PETA PSA, giving this release its pronounced X factor.