kntrlr, “Kursk”

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Brooklyn-by-way-of-Atlanta duo kntrlr aren’t your average rock group. With them you aren’t going to get songs filled with bar chords and loose snare drums. What you will get are expressive rock anthems done in a singular style.

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“Kursk” rides briskly on a looping guitar lines, kept in time by heavy drumming – all booming toms and crashing cymbals. Singer Michael Henry’s vocals float about above it all as he insists to some lover “There’s no love but with you, girl.”

“Kursk” is a tensly emotional track, the claustrophobic guitars echoing Henry’s nihilistic vocals. In addition to being “No love (but with you, girl)” there is also “no time,” “no religion,” and “no light.” It’s a song of lacking, of isolation.

But what exactly is a kursk? I, for one didn’t know, but the strange word begs the question. “Alarms went off at 3 a.m./ Off the coast of Iceland/ Now we’re sinking in the dark/ with no hope of rescue,” Henry sings, which (along with a quick google) might imply that the track refers to Russian submarine K-141 Kursk, which was lost with all hands when it sank in the Barents Sea in 2000.

The image is an apt metaphor for the emotion of being both utterly captivated by and uninteresting to a girl. You’re trapped  inside your own skull, stuck with a fate outside of your control.  You know you’re not getting the girl but there’s nothing to be done about it. At the end of the day, you’re going down.