Prolific Portland drummer David “Papi” Fimbres, recently left the Pacific Northwest for a stint in Germany, leaving in his wake more than a dozen now drummer-less bands. Glass Knees may have been one of the lesser well known of Papi’s projects, but the world was lucky to be graced with the band’s debut album just before he left.
Released in late August, Brainbro is the personification of everything Glass Knees is: joyful, melodic and supremely danceable. Where some of Papi’s other projects really built around his incredible talent as a drummer, Glass Knees find a balance between hypnotically complex drumming, lilting pedal steel, and intricate guitar-work – creating a sound predominantly instrumental with the exception of some hypnotic chanting (“Nobody Replaces Phil Hartman”). Brainbro being their only official release after playing together for over two years, the album feels like a compilation of greatest hits, or at least the compilation of songs you vaguely remember bobbing along to at shows. A few years back Glass Knees released a handful of songs on SoundCloud, and among them, “Bruxo” was the only one to make it onto the album. Rightfully so, “Bruxo” is a chirpy, groovy track that perfectly encompasses the heart of Glass Knees sound.
That said, Glass Knees are incredibly deft in their ability to blend sound, not conforming entirely to a genre. This skill is highlighted time and again listening through Brainbro. Occasionally the album deviates from its up-tempo tone, meandering to more perplexing places: psych rock for the faint of heart, perhaps. On the appropriately titled “Tiny Kitty Is a Tiger,” the song slides seamlessly from a sweet, day-dreamy pop song into something more sinister with snarling guitar and drums like a thunderstorm rolling alongside the war-cry of an angry little flute (or pedal steel? It gets hard to tell…).
Glass knees’ Brainbro is warmly comforting as we enter the long dark corridor of winter. And even more so as Portland settles into the discomfort from the absence of Papi’s presence playing out live at least once or twice on any given weekend. We hope you’re having a blast out there in Germany with your lovely wife and family, Senior Fimbres.