Words by Alexandra Dominica
Only formed recently towards the very end of last year, rubber soul-suited and go-go booted power-pop outfit The Knee Hi’s offer us well needed, wholesome respite of musical simplicity and visual experimental romanticism. The dreamy Chicago-based four-piece have released just one single, ‘Darlin, Darlin’, a track with dark lyrical undertones married with a warmly lit characteristic doo-wop rhythm. Headed by Devyn Crimson (Sable-Starr/Pamela Des Barres reincarnated) on bass with fellow members Alice Strider on lead guitar, Chris Goeken on drums and Ash Goeken on rhythm guitar. Combining post-war 50s doo-wop with 60s power pop, the shimmering four-piece keep in line with a solid retro aesthetic – this quickly garnering a worldwide vintage ‘nostalgerati’ online following dedicated to support these fresh-faced flower children. In a time where the commercial market is still so saturated with male artists and bands, these four women are taking the online 60s and 70s retromania scene by storm, we love to see it.
Living in their own atomic dreamland, these ‘wide eyed cats from Chicago’ banded together just as The Slits did in the 70s, as inexperienced, raw but organically talented musicians. With a few flawed practices and sleepover jams, the band decided to make a go of it – which is how it nearly always begins, right?
Playing a number of electric and packed shows including DreamHouse Chicago and LiveWire Lounge before COVID-19, they sadly were forced to pause their summer shows until further notice. Just as many artists and collectives have had to do in this chaotic climate they regrouped – the four reversed and switched their gears diving headlong into the creative process.
Despite some clear historic doo-wop influences such as The Dixie Cups these girls are far from vanilla. Their single ‘Darlin Darlin’ recalls modern Spanish garage rock Hinds’ early demo track ‘Between Cans’ mixed with Angel Olsen‘s effortless vocals. The fairytale ‘sleeping beauty’ sound also recalls 60s Philadelphia group The Capri Sisters and New York based The Cookies with chord progressions gliding softly and smoothly throughout. Freefalling away from being too tightly knit or feeling forced, these girls are talented and uncontrived. The Knee Hi’s are having fun and wanting to share the love, so their energy is certainly contagious and uplifting. Fans of Sunflower Bean, Kitty Daisy and Lewis and Shannon & The Clams will adore.
MOOF magazine can’t wait to see what the future holds for The Knee Hi’s and will be adding many more wishes to their beloved wishing tree. We’ll also be at the drive-in with our popcorn and soda in hand, just in time for their movie to begin!
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