Imagine, if you will, that Collective Soul, Matchbox 20, Walk Off The Earth, Kid Rock, a-better-sounding-Idina Menzel, and Goldfinger hooked up at an orgy hosted by Project Wyze and that will give you a bit of an understanding of Green Knuckle Material’s latest three-track EP, ‘Back To Your Roots‘. Now, here’s the thing, I’m not sure by any stretch of the imagination if any of the aforementioned artists are influences to any of the members of the group but there is a sure flirtation of Green Knuckle Material with those styles and genres, for sure.
I hope, likely beyond hope, that the gents in GKM don’t take what I say as an insult. I should say, up front, that hip hop is not really my thing. I’m sure I reiterate this point every time I’m given some to review. But, that being said, this is a bizarre, interesting and certainly engaging fusion of hip hop and all manner of music. It’s kind of wonderful. First and foremost, as soon as I played through each track, I was hit immediately with the thought “well, I thought these guys were hip hop” to then be smacked in the face with the realization that they certainly are and can manage their work into many wheelhouses. It is pretty remarkable.
Each track has its own unique feel, style, and genre and each one begins in a way that does not lead the listener to think there will be any rap in store for them. I want to think that the reason for the incredible musical diversity on this EP has to do with the fact that the members of the GKM are all going back to their musical roots, digging deep into what got them into music in the first place, and then giving their GKM sound a solid foundation of varying influences.
And, on top of all this bewilderment, I have regarding this EP, it must be said that the compositions of each of these tracks are not necessarily piss-simple either. They are not just thrown together in one genre with a slash of rap cut through it. These are fully integrated and elaborate compositions that really make the avid music geek want to listen over and over again just to understand what they did, why they did it, and how well it actually works.
‘Childhood‘ has a very strange country vibe to it that I really did not expect when I was sent a hip hop EP. There is a feeling of Americana that really comes through in the brightness of the guitar and a whole lot of 90s alt feel in a Matchbox 20-meets-Collective Soul sort of way. The addition of the rap in this tune does give a bit of a Kid Rock vibe (which I truly understand could be taken as an insult) but let’s just say that these guys do Kid Rock’s job better than he does.
‘Rebels On The Run‘ opens with a very interesting bit of jazzy piano followed by a Broadway-sounding performer who I previously dubbed the better-sounding Idina Menzel. This is one hell of a ballad that couples her powerful, Broadway-esque voice with some gritty rhymes. This is the track where we get the Walk Off The Earth feels. The rapper’s voice here reminds me of Gianni Luminati, to some extent. I cannot say enough, however, that no matter the comparisons I make between GKM and any other group, make no mistake that GKM really has their own unique sound that pulls the best or at least most interesting parts of all of these comparative musicians.
‘Go That Way‘ is a killer funk track with a lot of 90s feel with some wonderful 80s sax solo shit going on that makes me smile like no man’s business. There is a little hint of Goldfinger in this track with the ska band in the background throughout the verses. The way in which GKM fuses all manner of musical influences together to make their polished tracks is unbelievable.
I realize that I have spent the past 600 words just saying the same things over and again in general disbelief but there is not much more I can do. I just need to talk this one out. And will be doing so on Swept’s upcoming podcast ‘Under The Rug‘, coming out this June. Not only will we be covering this EP but we will be looking to cover the full comic book that came out as a companion to these three tracks. I have never before heard of a band releasing a comic book to go with their EP but I can definitely say, with great certainty, that Swept will continue to push Green Knuckle Material and all of their…material.
Check their new EP out right HERE!