HISTORY, the new full-length album from The Knocks finds the NYC dance duo doing just what the title suggests: paying homage to their history. Arriving four years after their last LP, New York Narcotic, HISTORY finds Ben Ruttner and James Patterson returning to their disco-inspired roots for twelve absolute bangers.
The best part about HISTORY is how effortless it feels. The duo has managed to both harness an exciting new sound while giving a nod to their early work that put them on the map, and the result is something that finds them easily dancing from genre to genre and experimenting with new sounds. Despite the album’s eleven artist features, nothing ever feels forced or manufactured. Instead, The Knocks manage to play to the strengths of the artists that they’ve collaborated with on HISTORY while putting their own iconic spin on it.
There are no two songs on the album that sound the same. HISTORY’S opener, “Bodies” featuring MUNA is total club banger, while “Slow Song” with Dragonette clearly lends its groovy bass and full band sound from disco music. Then there’s the trippy “All About You”, which finds the duo collaborating with Foster The People once more, sitting perfectly alongside “Nobody But Me” featuring Cold War Kids, with drums and keys that feel reminiscent of Fat Boy Slim’s “Praise You”. Meanwhile “R U HIGH” featuring Mallrat leans into Daft Punk-inspired sounds.
The only song on the album that doesn’t feature another artist is the glitchy standout, “Boombox”, which perfectly bridges the two halves of the album. Other highlights are the groovy as fuck, “Real Life”, featuring Cannons, Donna Missal’s commanding vocals on “Bang Bang” and the dreamy second to last song, “Gimme Love” featuring Yoke Lore. But to be completely honest, every song on the album is a standout in its own right.
Throughout the entirety of HISTORY, The Knocks manage to once again pull off what they do best; bridging the gap between retro dance music and modern pop for something completely unique. There’s nothing quite like the sounds on HISTORY.