Boomkat Product Review:
20th Anniversary half-speed master vinyl edition of the Smog classic, ‘Knock Knock’
"Placing this LP on your turntable, you find yourself drawn ever-deeper into the sound - and it’s not just the eternally-stunning co-production from Callahan and Jim O’Rourke, it’s the incredible focus brought by the half-speed mastering work done at Abbey Road, bringing out the highs, lows and even mids that OG fans of this album have taken for granted for too many years. The fresh fullness of the sound now stands as a tribute to the ol’ familiar Smog sensation of being somehow completely unfamiliar.
Back in 1999, Bill was staking out new territory. Issued in the wake of the game-changing ‘Red Apple Falls’, ‘Knock Knock’ upped the ante of the game, pairing his naked portraiture with increasingly delicate nuances in song and arrangement. The people responded in kind, turning out in ever-increasing numbers to shops and venues alike. They weren’t quite singing along with ‘Cold-Blooded Old Times’ yet - that’s a happy post-millennial development - but there was a lot. ‘Knock Knock’ was enough of a tour de force that staging a re-look these twenty years later was a cool no-brainer. With production values at an all-time (for then) high and a team of Chicago-based studio rats (as well as a carefully vetted-and-compensated singing children’s choir) on the case, ‘Knock Knock’ was the most colourful of Smog albums; a record that played like a real-life opera, a story told in song.
Today, songs like ‘Held’, ‘River Guard’ and ‘Hit The Ground Running” are still called for at concerts. Meanwhile, the 20th Anniversary half-speed remaster of the LP allows us to perceive the expansive spaces in tunes like ‘Sweet Treat’ and ‘Left Only With Love’. It wouldn’t have been the 90s without a CD version and the label are re-releasing that in original, non-remastered form. Also, in tribute to where it all came from (but where it definitively wasn’t at the time), they have a cassette version of ‘Knock Knock’ for the neo-lo-fi heads to appreciate."