STRUCK LAST MAY
2007 Hill deg Maria Records
Review by: Steve Ruff
Struck Last May’s offering 16 Flowers was released in 2007 and is the latest brainchild of Michael Knott. Rick McDonough is the second half of the band here, and Michael and Rick play all the instruments with Michael carrying the majority of the vocals and McDonough backing him up. This was a fully packaged release that can only be labeled as experimental.
This was another concept album that Knott has become known for. A quote from the liner notes says, “The record, 16 Flowers, is a journey loosely based upon a fictional couple who encounter emotional peaks and valleys as they experience each other, as well as the world around them”. It is a concept that is not always apparent as each song on the album could actually stand on its own. However, one can loosely follow the story as it goes along. My favorite track on the album would probably be #14 which has the same name as the album. Michael’s voice accompanied by an acoustic guitar and the crisp clean sounds of the strings are something that I have always enjoyed.
If I had to classify this release I would definitely call it alternative. The genre and the term has been somewhat lost through the last 20 years, but this album is an alternative to anything that you have probably heard. It cannot really be pigeonholed safely into any other category. Mike and Rick’s voices on here can be called instruments as well as you can hear Michael whimpering like a dog and playing guitar with his voice on “Fraidy Cat”, buzzing like a bee on “Pollen”, and all the background noises, shouting and whispering heard throughout the album. The abundant keyboards and distorted sounds cannot be defined and labeled, there’s an amazing variety of sounds that come out of this album. The best description came from Michael himself when he said, “It’s like Sesame Street meets One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest.”
All in all, this was a great new sonic experience. The rumor is there is another Struck Last May project coming soon and I can’t wait. If you don’t have this one you can purchase it through Michael’s website found at http://michaelknott.com