Glasgow, Scotland-based electronic act Union of Knives — currently founding member Chris Gordon (multi-instrumentalist, vocals, production), Dope Sick Fly’s Baton Rouge, LA-born, Glasgow-based Ant Thomaz (vocals) and The Kills‘ and Ladytron‘s Peter Kelly (drums) — can trace their origins back to 2004: Founding members Chris Gordon and Dave McClean met at Glasgow’s Nice ‘n’ Sleazy Bar,where McClean was working as a sound engineer in the bar’s venue space and Gordon was a bartending, while producing and touring with other bands. Gordon and McLean initially started working together as producers and engineers on material for local acts — and on remixes of the work of Snow Patrol and others.
McLean had met Aberdeen-born, Scotland-based singer/songwriter Craig Grant while doing sound for an acoustic night at Nice ‘n’ Sleazy. After meeting one night at the bar, Gordon and McLean invited Grant to work on some tracks they had started — and the early success of those sessions led to the formation of Union of Knives. With the release of their critically applauded full-length debut, 2006’s Violence and Birdsong quickly established a dark and brooding sound that references goth, industrial, trip hop and warped soul. The album also featured drum work from Peter Kelly, who later would join the band as a full-time member — and album single “Opposite Direction,” which appeared in episodes of The Vampire Diaries and Grey’s Anatomy. Their Atticus Ross co-produced sophomore album was recorded the following year and was shelved due to internal issues with their label.
Since then Gordon has been releasing material with other projects and continuing his production work with artists, Kelly went on to tour with The Kills and Ladyton while also becoming an acclaimed artist with his work being instrumental in the band’s visual aesthetic. Thomas eventually made his way to Scotland, becoming a member of Dope Sick Fly. Gordon produced some of Thomas’ work and after they realized an irresistible musical connection, Thomas officially joined the band last year. Over the course of last year, the newly constituted trio worked on their sophomore album Endless From The Start, which is slated for release through Three Hands Records later this year, ending the project’s 14 year hiatus.
Endless From The Start reportedly finds the band further establishing their brooding and cinematic sound while revealing material that’s diverse yet uplifting — even in its darkest moments. The Glasgow-based trio have released two singles to critical praise, “Like Butterflies” and “A Tall Tale,” which features Ladytron’s Helen Marnie. And building upon the growing buzz surrounding them, the album’s third and latest single “There’s A River” is a brooding and dystopian track centered around ambient synths, thumping industrial beats, reverb-drenched vocals, sampled Eastern-like vocals and a soaring hook. While sonically bearing a resemblance to Massive Attack, the track reveals the’s act carefully sculptured layered production style.
“‘There’s a River’ is a song about going forward with clarity and pushing through the surrounding noise by simplifying the complex,” the band’s Anthony Thomaz says in press notes. The band’s Chris Gordon adds “If you like your dystopian soundscapes with a sprinkling of hope and a dream-like narrative then ‘There’s A River’ is the track for you.”
The recently released video is shot in a gorgeous and cinematic black and white with the members of Union of Knives at the Scottish shore, near brooding storm clouds and crows — before slowly turning into a psychedelic fever dream.