It’s songs like this that make me mad that Culprit and the rest of the #MEBTour bands didn’t come to the East Coast last fall. The veterans of our flagship tour have returned with “Knock On the Sky,” the first single from their follow-up to the solid Analogue EP, and it’s a great piece of songwriting. Confessional, emotional, and mysterious-sounding, the song is the band’s best to date as the lyrical, melodic and instrumental content present throughout gives plenty to heighten excitement for whatever the band does next.
From the very opening of the track, it seems as though some of the atmospheric elements from producer Erik Ron’s work with VersaEmerge have transferred into Culprit’s work, making for a very strong intro as ambient chord changes build up behind the lead guitar riff. When the vocals kick in, the hook of the chorus immediately pulls you in from the first line. This catchy element is a lot stronger on this song than it was in their previous work, which had plenty of great parts but lacked the ability to keep drawing me back in for more. Luckily, “Knock On the Sky” is a song that’s got this factor nailed down.
As the chorus ends, guitar parts that remind me of a slightly less technical Emarosa lead into the first verse, which takes the tone down a bit before the chorus returns. The second verse is a bit different, creating a nice sense of variety that makes the song feel well-constructed and gives it a lot of space and balance. Though they both are slightly reserved in terms of overall sound, the verses are full of great guitar and drum parts, and the vocals are impressive throughout.
After a brief instrumental section begins the bridge, the vocals return with some of the strongest lyrics of the track, with the questioning “sometimes I think that maybe it’s me – can’t eat and I’m losing sleep, why did this have to be so real?” The closing portion of the song finds a drawn-out iteration of the chorus and some riffing on the previous version. As the guitars fade out, an intriguing electronic-sounding line picks up, perhaps hinting toward the opening of the next track.
If this is any indication of what Culprit’s next release will sound like, it should be safe to say that they’ll be turning a lot of heads in the second half of 2012. This is a big step forward in terms of overall musicianship and writing skills, and the track has the ability to simply draw you in through the hook, only to find something new to enjoy about it with each listen. With “Knock On the Sky,” the band has moved significantly higher on my most-anticipated list, and I’ll have this single on repeat in the meantime. I highly recommend you do the same.