The self-titled debut from The Knells (a new ensemble formed by composer/guitarist Andrew McKenna Lee) featuring Mivos String Quartet and more, released on November 19 on New Amsterdam Records, has already received a significant amount of press coverage and acclaim.
The New York Times’ Jon Pareles praised Lee’s “ambitious, accomplished rock side” as exhibited in the album, and Textura stated that the album “must be one of the most original-sounding albums released in 2013.” In addition, The New Republic’s David Hajdu included The Knells in his Best Albums of 2013 list #6, and Ted Gioia also named the album #5 in his 100 Best Albums of 2013 list. Most recently, the album was honored as one the Best Overlooked Albums of 2013 by The New Yorkers’s Sasha Frere-Jones.
The Knells is the name of both Lee’s adeptly-composed hour-long song cycle as well as the hybrid ensemble Lee assembled to perform the project, consisting of three stunning female vocalists (Nina Berman, Amanda Gregory, Katya Powder), dual electric guitars (Andrew McKenna Lee, Paul Orbell), drums (Michael McCurdy), mallet percussion (Jude Traxler), electric bass (Joseph Higgins), and the critically lauded Mivos String Quartet. Blending Renaissance polyphony, symphonic lieder, jazz, classic and progressive rock, and even ‘60s Motown vocal music, The Knells finds Lee expanding his creative scope, embracing many of the stylistic streams that have come to define modern song in a remarkably cohesive and unique experience.