Aidan Knight – Small Release album review

Canadian experimental folk artist, Aidan Knight, and his quintet of the same name released their second full-length album October 23rd, Knight’s 26th birthday. The Victoria based ensemble’s release, “Small Reveal”, sheds light on a certain form of unique talent that is lost among many modern artists. “Small Release” takes the listener on a journey through a variety of lives and perspectives, from failed marriage ballads to the longing for love by a shy grocery store clerk. The depth of each story in the saga takes hold of the heart strings and grips one into a stupor of mind-engulfing fascination.

“Dream Team”, the opening and longest track on the album, begins slowly with an two-fingered string plucking and whispered lyricism as Knight sends such questions to the heavens as “was I swimming just to drown?” and “would you put it all at ease or make me feel uneasy?” The song takes a dramatic turn midway through and transforms from a downtrodden, mournful tune into an uplifting anthem filled with energy- as if you were running on the beach in complete darkness, and the sun began to rise suddenly. The drum beat incorporates snare without bass to end the song, dropping- without warning- into the brighter beginnings of the albums next track, “A Mirror”.

Throughout “Small Release” one soars through a world of unknown depths, delving into the lives of undiscovered souls. The most striking of which is detailed in “Margaret Downe”, the final track of the album- one that truly epitomizes the cliche of saving the best for last. It begins with the acoustic picking that seemingly marks the end of a wonderful trip. It is a ballad looking through the eyes of a man who falls in love with the title character, a woman who once “was a dentist, before she fell in love.” The line insinuates that the narrator did not know her at the time of her dentistry, as it later tells that they were wed. However, we soon discover that Margaret gave up her work when she ran away with a man from “across the canal.” When Downe is struck with a terminal illness and lies dying in her hospital bed, the narrator comes to visit- seemingly after years that passed with no interaction. Though the story-teller does not know what to say at first, he eventually takes hold of her hands and tells her he forgives her for “making other plans”. In the most poetically tragic manner, Downe drifts into an ever rising tide, and the album ends, leaving the listener with tears- whether literal or internal.

Aidan Knight’s “Small Release” is unquestionably a remarkable piece, and can be found for as little as $8 at aidanknight.com

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