The cutting edge of the knife?
Silent Shout finds The Knife trading in the industrial strength synths of Kraftwerk and sonorous clubland basslines that belie their origins in dance music rather than electronica. Some of the descriptions of the music on this album would have you thinking they might sound like Icelandic electronica stalwarts Mum, but this is not nearly as finnickity – not a glitch in sight. This sounds like deconstructed symphonic house music cross bred with the icey pop fantasies of Kate Bush. Opener Silent Shout sets the mood, waves of 303 shot from speaker to speaker while ominous, heavily synthesised vocals establish a pesistent melodic hook. Better is the sinister electro pop of “Neverland” with its subversive lyricism and vitriolic delivery: “I’m dancing for dollars… for a fancy man”.
Whereas the extensive driftiness and stark ambience of The Captain doesn’t work for me, the album gets back on track with the propulsive assault of ‘We Share our Mother’s Health’. Male and female vocals intertwine over razor sharp electro and jet engine basslines in what one might imagine an Andrew Lloyd Webber duet might sound like if remixed by Squarepusher (I mean this in a good way).
Other highlights include the fantastic sub-zero pop ballad Marble House which ends, as many great songs do, on its most intriguing lyric: “some things I do for money, some things I do for free”. A word of warning, the album cut of the excellent Like A Pen does not work as well as the single version, which builds on the vocal hooks and omits the extended instrumental exit featured here. Overall, a strange and uncompromising album full of cold, sometimes abrasive textures (almost all vocals are synthesised) but curiously catchy pop.