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The Haul: No Knife's Fire in the City of Automatons

I made it to the actual Jive Time Records in Fremont on Sunday, but aside from some overpriced items in the just-in section, there wasn’t much that piqued my interest. I recall a similar experience visiting this store the last time I was in Seattle; that time I went to the Sonic Boom vinyl annex down the street, this time I went across the street to the Vintage Mall with an impressive stockpile of cheaper vinyl. I probably would have picked up a few more albums (the Reach the Rock soundtrack, for one) if I wasn’t concerned about the impending problem of bringing all of my recent scores back to Boston. Definitely go to the Jive Time Annexes before the main store, especially if you’re not consumed with finding a mint copy of a given album.

41. No Knife – Fire in the City of Automatons LP – Dim Mak Japan, 1999 – $5

No Knife's Fire in the City of Automatons

I first heard this album when searching for “Academy Fight Song” on SoulSeek; I downloaded a No Knife track by that name expecting a Mission of Burma cover and got a mislabeled homage (“Academy Flight Song”) from Fire in the City of Automatons. The combination of stop-start rhythms, racing guitar lines, and melodic vocals make a strong argument with me, so I grabbed the recent of the album and enjoyed it a great deal. No Knife is too smooth and too melodic to fit in with the post-hardcore crowd, but has too much depth to be written off as alternative rock, which I imagine caused some difficulties when they were trying to fit in with their native San Diego scene. I have their debut album, Drunk on the Moon, which isn’t as catchy or tight as this one, and I’ve heard their last album, 2002’s Riot for Romance!, which has some excellent moments (the title track, the lilting “Feathers and Furs”) that match anything found here, but Fire in the City of Automatons has always been my favorite of their albums, so finding the Japanese LP pressing was quite a coup. No Knife recently played their first shows since 2003 in support of Jimmy Eat World’s Clarity anniversary tour, so a new album or a longer tour may be forthcoming.