Who? Oxford, England's Young Knives mix post-punk revivalism with a U.K. cast of the Officemeets-Devo aesthetic. The trio features frontman and guitarist Henry Dartnall, bassist Thomas Dartnall (they're brothers-though the latter earns Brit Pop cred via stage name the House of Lords) and drummer Oliver Askew. Their debut album Voices of Animals and Men, produced by the Gang of Four's Andrew Gill, was released in their native U.K. in 2006, but arrived stateside earlier this year.
What's the Deal? Years ahead of their time, the group was originally in on the equestrian tip -- calling themselves Ponyclub before reincarnating the band under the banner of cutlery -- their name is a play on the phrase 'young knaves.' They've got a brothers-from-another-mother thing going with the Futureheads plus a splash of Syd Barrett, but the album is infused with Damon Albarn touches like Henry's sound-alike delivery on "She's Attracted To", a "Parents Just Don't Understand" for fans of '90s-era Blur. Indie mock-opera "The Decision" pits the House of Lords' ping-ponging vocals against his brother's choir boy ba ba ba's while name-dropping the Prince of Wales.
Fun Fact: Performing at this year's SXSW, the nerd-rock advocates weren't afraid to take on the locals. "Henry had a sing-off with our cabdriver Virgil," Thomas reveals. Henry confirms it: "He sang Luther Vandross and I sang "Catch" by the Cure. Virgil was slick-he was Kool and the Gang. I stopped halfway through because I got embarrassed." MELISSA GOLDSTEIN
Now Hear This: The Young Knives - "She's Attracted To" DOWNLOAD MP3
On the Web: The Young Knives at myspace.com
Talk: The Young Knives: voices of animals or men?