Friday, July 28, 2023

Knapsack - This Conversation Is Ending Starting Right Now LP - Blue & Yellow Pinwheel Vinyl - From The Complete Discography Box Set (/300)


Spartan (2023, Reissue) 

I recently got my hands on the vinyl box set of all three Knapsack albums. Rather than try to write one really long review that encompasses all of the albums, I figured I would break this into multiple parts like I have with other box sets I've written about. For the next three Friday's we'll visit each of Knapsack's albums. Even though I have the original pressings of each album, the box set was just too cool to pass up. For the final week we'll focus on the third Knapsack album, This Conversation is Ending Starting Right Now as well as the box set as a whole.

This Conversation is Ending Starting Right Now came out right when I was starting out at my college radio station.  When I started college, the campus station was playing a top 40 format and was really seen as a training ground for DJs.  But in my fourth year, that teacher split and a new guy came in and decided to change the format to a more traditional college radio station.  I went over there immediately and became a DJ.  

No one at the station had any real connections and didn't know how to get music sent to them, I had a lot of contacts from my time writing at the college newspaper, so I used them to get records and became the music director of the station in fairly short order.  One of the first people I reached out to was my contact at Alias and one of the first new records he sent was This Conversation is Ending Starting Right Now.  He also hooked me up with a ton of back catalog to help jumpstart a library that didn't exist, so I was grateful for that as well.  Unfortunately, I don't remember the guy's name, but he was a good dude.

I had my copy before Alias sent one to the station, but I'll always link that record to my time there as it was so pivotal.  Having already been a Knapsack fan, I was really excited that a new album war coming out and was expecting it to be good.  I was not expecting to think it was even better than Day Three of my New Life.  But, I thought it was and still think it is.  

Both are insanely stellar records, but something about how well the songs are structured on This Conversation is Ending Starting Right Now takes it over the top.  I hesitate to call the songwriting mature, as there is still a nice amount of that angsty energy that is so important to Knapsack working, but there's definitely growth.  The songs are more complicated, but are never overwrought.  The hooks and choruses shine even brighter than before and for me this is the quintessential Knapsack album, with Day Three a very, very close second.

Now for the box set.  I'm not going to spend multiple paragraphs singing its praises, but hot damn is it beautiful.  The outer box is high quality and has a nice, hefty feel.  The records themselves have good weight and sound great, though I do question some of the colors that were pickled.  I think some of the individual releases had vinyl colors that played better with the album art, the box set ones tend to feel a little wacky to me.  This particular album has a good color to match the art work, but the first two really don't.  And none of them match each other in any sort of cohesive way, so it feels kind of jumbled and disjointed.

It also comes with a large, awesome book that has an oral history of the band with input from all of the key players.  There's even a listing of every show they ever played.  They only did about a dozen more shows after the time I saw them in NYC with Archers of Loaf in 98, until the reunion shows kicked off.

It's an incredible set.  I really couldn't be happier with it aside from the vinyl color weirdness.  It is sold out a few times over at this point as they ended up making more boxes with other versions of the vinyl from other pressings.  Some of those look better than the exclusive version, but I ordered my set right away, so there were no choices to make when I was buying.  At the end of the day, I'm just happy it sounds great and the box and book look awesome.  I wish more sets like this could be made for other bands that I love.

Knapsack - This Conversation Is Ending Starting Right Now:

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