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April 5, 2013
 

The Knife Are (FINALLY) Back

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Back in 2009 or so, I was craving me another album from The Knife. It had been three years since they suddenly blew my mind and then disappeared almost as suddenly. I wanted a new one so bad, I decided to make my own in hopes of it maybe coming true one day. So, in one of my design classes at Weber State, I did just that. See for yourself…

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I was very proud of this project. But, no matter how much I wanted to pretend, there was no Knife music on that record. It was just some unknown 70’s gospel album I reappropriated for my own use, always reminding me that The Knife were nowhere to be seen (or heard).

Skip forward to 2013. It’s now been seven (7!!!) years since Silent Shout. That’s definitely long enough to marinate into modern classic status. For most of us here in the US, this was our first taste of the goblin techno-pop spasms of Swedish sibling duo Olof Dreijer and Karin Dreijer Andersson. I was twitterpated somethin’ fierce myself. That album made it pretty high on my own end-of-decade list (#36 out of 100) and my aching for more surfaced in various other ways besides the aforementioned, including a couple dumb videos I made to their music (one for a grade, one out of boredom). I dove into their back catalog, and welcomed Karin’s magnificent solo effort as Fever Ray with open arms. But it wasn’t enough, cuz I wanted more. More, gimme more, gimme more.

Needless to say, the new album Shaking the Habitual is one of the most anticipated releases in years for many, including your’s truly. It’s streaming now via Pitchfork Advance, and officially drops this Tuesday. As of now, I have not listened to the thing. This is an album I want to get in my hands before the listening ritual begins. From what little I have heard, that’s what kind of album it is anyway. It’s going to be a difficult and majestic listening experience. And that’s just the way I like it.

It’s possible that some of you are still unaware of The Knife and their impressive evolution. Perhaps you still think “Heartbeats” is a Jose Gonzales original. Then again, there are probably quite a few of you that adore this strange duo as much (or more) than myself. Either way, let us take a little journey in preperation for what is likely to be one of the landmarks of an already landmark year.

Speaking of landmark year, consider this for just a second…

MY BLOODY VALENTINE – mbv (22 years after last album)

DAFT PUNK – Random Access Memories (8 years after last album)

JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE  – The 20/20 Experience (7 years after last album)

THE KNIFE – Shaking the Habitual (7 years after last album)

That’s 44 years worth of resolution, right there. Well played, 2013. Well played.

The Knife (2001)

This thing came out in 2001! That kind of blows me away. Very smart and wacky electro-pop the likes of which nobody had really cared about at the time. I sure didn’t. It wasn’t even released in the US until after 2006. Everyone was too busy listening to The White Stripes I guess.

The Knife-Neon from Victor Enriquez on Vimeo.

Deep Cuts (2003)

The first couple albums are noticeably lighter in mood. Even cartoonish. But with each album, the jarring vocals and sometimes explicitly sinister and/or sexual lyrics offset that quite a bit. This album also contains their most poppy and usually most recognizable tune in “Heartbeats,” which has spawned many very worthy covers.I actually prefer the darker live version…

The Knife – Heartbeats from Johannes Nyholm on Vimeo.

Silent Shout (2006)

On Silent Shout, the first album officially released in the US of A, the dark side rises. The tension is palpable, and the grooves undeniable. It’s a unique and succesful fusion of these elements the likes of which probably hadn’t been heard since Kid A.  A masterpiece.

Fever Ray (2009)

It might be worth mentioned Karin’s solo effort, as it’s a great extension of their sound. So much so, that one could say we haven’t really been waiting 7 years for more, but merely 4.

Shaking The Habitual (2013)

One thing that has always been a constant in their sound, is the manipulated vocal delivery of Karin. It’s a seemingly simple aspect that has become their trademark. Unsettling layers of the supernatural. If Sigur Ros is a band of elves, The Knife is most definitely a band of goblins.
Welcome back.

 



About the Author

Chris