Knuckle Pups' Debut Record 'San Panino' Drops This Weekend

By: Julia Talen

Knuckle Pups, a Denver-based five-piece band, are releasing their first ever musical project, San Panino digitally and on cassette tape this upcoming Saturday, October 27th. And to be honest, after a listen, I was shocked that this is the first project the group’s produced.

Knuckle Pups.

Knuckle Pups.

Texture deepens each track on San Panino, perhaps because of the exceptionally layered vocal harmonies and the dynamic instrumentals. Bare and percussive elements echo, while dialogue with airy and ethereal synths glides listeners through this original project, filled with movement. The movement feels adventurous and exciting, and it carries listeners into unique yet comforting musical realms.

San Panino opens with the track “Last Whim,” a tune bursting at the seams with energy which explores coming of age, youth, and relationship complexities. The tune runs, and listeners run with it, cruising through the song’s wonderful syncopation. You also get a taste of the group’s exceptional vocal blends, which thread throughout the cassette.

The next track, “New Reckless” opens up with playful synths. The tune feels whimsy, in an infectious way as Oliver Holloway (principal songwriter) croons questions like, “So what/am I/ today?” The title gets at the recklessness of relationships- new relationships- and the wondering and questions of one another which comes along with that freshness. The tune builds and listeners hold on through its progression, reflective of the song’s final lyrics, “Hold on.”

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“Bottom Baby” is perhaps the most poetic and inquisitive track, with lyrics like, “Down to the bottom baby/out of control/ upside the inside maybe.” My favorite part of the track is the bridge, a mixture of catchy percussion, and “ooo’s” which flood the track like waves drifting through various facets of the tune to what feels familiar.

San Panino finishes with “Wealthy Diner.” We linger in the slow verse on this one, accompanied by Holloway’s shaky, raw, and refined vocals. He sings, “Lovely the way you lie with me/just where we’re supposed to be/and across the moonlit line/we would watch the wealthy dine,” and the instrumentals take off, lifting us into that “moonlit line.”

Knuckle Pups emerges in a vast sea of Colorado indie music with an extremely original and enticing project, a project that elevates the group, showcasing an originality that’s difficult to compare. The casette’s rich layers and imagination compel listeners to hold on for the ride and get lost in the sublime landscape of the music.

See Knuckle Pups for yourself this Saturday, October 27th, at Larimer Lounge as they take the stage with Saintseneca and Trace Mountains for their release show.

Keep up with Knuckle Pups here.


All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.