Album Review

Kneecap - Fine Art

Totally unique, totally committed and totally thrilling.

Kneecap - Fine Art


If the conservative press are to be believed, then Kneecap are a danger to society – a trio of balaclava-clad ne’er do wells who want to bring down the United Kingdom itself. Dip into debut album ‘Fine Art’ at certain choice intervals, and you imagine the detractors would happily double down on their ire; littered throughout are the sounds of loudly sniffed lines and the wayward background noises of a heavy night down the boozer. One song is called ‘Rhino Ket’. Take a step back (or, conversely, dive in fully), however, and ‘Fine Art’ is, in its own warped way, as its title suggests: a fully-immersive, conceptual production that, much like their recent Sundance award-winning biopic, is far, far too clever to just be the work of three miscreants. 

Set across a hedonistic night at fictional pub The Rutz, a cast of fleeting characters drift in and out, from Lankum’s Radie Peat, who sings ‘3CAG’’s traditional Irish opening, to Fontaines DC’s Grian Chatten, who props up a barstool on the bottom-of-the-pint anti-anthem ‘Better Way To Live’, to a series of skits that link the action throughout – best of which is the gap yah music industry exec that pops up on ‘KNEECAP chaps’ (“I LOVE your accents… by the way, I’m English”). Sometimes you almost forget you’re listening to an album and not a radio play, but there are standalone gems here too. High energy d’n’b highlight ‘I’m Flush’ or the wild-eyed rave of ‘Rhino Ket’ will make for rowdy additions to the proven carnage of their live shows, while the flute trills of ‘Drug Dealin Pagans’ or the Streets-adjacent, gospel-backed finale of ‘Way Too Much’ show there are layers to their outlook too. Really, however, ‘Fine Art’ should be viewed much like any great work: as a whole. And as a whole, it’s totally unique, totally committed and totally thrilling – just don’t tell the government. 

Kneecap play Mad Cool 2024 (10th - 13th July) where DIY is an official media partner. Tickets are on sale now. Visit diymag.com/festivals for more information.

Tags: Kneecap, Reviews, Album Reviews

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