Portland's 31Knots offer an uplifting delirium of sorts. They're that fearless kind of crazy that forces a band to try anything once, often resulting in gleefully skewed takes on traditional rock genres. Armed with that madness, they've once again put their insanity on display for their third full-length, Talk Like Blood.

The trio, starring Joe Haege on vocals and guitar, Jay Pellicci on drums, and Jay Winebrenner on bass, have saturated every second of the 11-track album with convoluted compositions that are as airtight as they are aggressive. "Chain Reaction" is one of the darkest moments in that journey. Bringing the record to its halfway mark, they build a six-minute anxiety attack that rings with jagged guitars at its climax. Haege's inimitable voice hints at a drunken sailor in a whiskey-soaked fury while he boasts, "I could've waited it out or taken him out/It's all the same to me/I could've called his bluff or fucked him up/It makes no difference to me." The music gains strength and breaks into even more turbulence while Haege wails, "Come now all aborted thoughts/Come now one and all/Come and glitch this new routine/Come make me feel safe!"

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Just one track later, though, there's a sudden shift in mood when "A Void Employs a Kiss" rings in with almost playful guitars. Haege happily recalls the days before Ritalin, when all the kids passed time "shooting up or jerking off into their new jeans and Demoral would dance in their dreams." The manic-depressive twists take control again though, and "A Void..." doesn't take long to once again fall under gray skies. The guitars stab and Haege's back in an agitated state, admitting that "Getting high off anxiety and breaking down from memory is all too routine."

Throughout Talk Like Blood, haunting cellos, tinkering pianos, and understated female harmonies also throw some kindling on 31Knots' fire, which ultimately (and very successfully) laces together the raw attitude of post-hardcore with indie rock's more interesting and artistic side. Thank god for the crazies.


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