The Knife
Silent Shout


4.5
superb

Review

by Kevin K USER (58 Reviews)
February 13th, 2011 | 19 replies


Release Date: 2006 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A Silent Shout you just have to hear

I love it when my favorite artists release increasingly better records every time, and seem to just keep plowing through their musical artistry and letting nothing get in their way. This is the case with The Knife, a Swedish laptop duo who have only gotten better since their naive origins in 2001. With their debut The Knife, Karin and Olaf Dreijer created something likable with potential and reasonable charm. They took a step forward in 2003 with Deep Cuts, a poppier, remotely political album that improved on both Karin's vocals and Olaf's use of electronic beats, overall sounding more refined and unique. Now, this is Silent Shout, their 2006 plunge into darkness and their most admirable effort to date. This record sees The Knife at their most inspired, creative and utterly talented. Shying away from playful antics while keeping a strange atmosphere tethered down, Silent Shout is the product of a more deep and sophisticated source of ideas.

For one thing, the album's production is excellent. Olaf created more lure by using material/organic samples, such as "Marble House"'s clacking marbles rapidly snapping its way into the song, or "Like a Pen" who's rhythm materializes from the intro of formless water droplets gradually turning into a beat. Most mentionable is the exotic "We Share Our Mother's Health", which is basically built from the ground up out of myriad computer buzzes and bleeps. There are also much more strongly-defined computer noises that light and explode the brilliant title track with incredible raving flare. The songs feel much more danceable this time around too, adopting a murky, icy club atmosphere that The Knife prove they are very good at with the title track, "Neverland" and "Forest Families". Most of these songs have a great rhythm and progression, while others feel more loose and ethereal such as "From Off To On" and "Na Na Na". All of them are much darker though, which is good because this album is also very refreshing and and a crafty gem in The Knife's discography.

While the production itself is great, both the lyrics and vocals have taken a comfortable form in this record's eeriness. The lyrics, in general, are less straightforward and are a bit more "listener-defined", or more open to interpretation. "Like a Pen" and "Silent Shout" in particular have some very cryptic lyrics, but they aren't worthless gibberish by any means. Basically, they are well-written for whatever the hell they are supposed to mean. Karin's vocals have come a long way from her start in 2001, doing exactly what she needed to improve on initially and doing more in the process. She's trying new things and using several new vocal inflections. On "The Captain", she makes her voice sound like she inhaled helium without the high pitch, which is strange of course, but works for the song. "Na Na Na" however shows off much more high-pitched vocals. Then there's the meshing of her and Olaf's whispers on "Silent Shout", which makes the vocal parts of that song mellow and chilling. Other than that, you can find subtle plays of tone and pitch on almost every song on Silent Shout. The computer guy Olaf does sing like he did on Deep Cuts, and those of you that know me know that I have no preference for his voice whatsoever. Somehow the vibe and atmosphere of this album makes his awkward singing feel normal however, seeing as Karin's doing strange things with her voice all over the place anyways. To me, this record has both of the siblings' best voices to date.

The album as a whole can be enjoyed all at once or in individual doses. Singularly, each song is unique and different in its own way, with virtually no filler to hinder the experience. Songs range from the moody and haunting "Marble House", the fist-pumping vigor of "Neverland", the bouncy and heavy "One Hit", or the slow-paced but rewarding "The Captain". There's plenty to offer for individual servings, and this record loses no power when listened to all at once. The flow is smooth between each track, with the more energetic songs at the beginning and growing more somber as the tracks roll on. Even shorter tracks "Na Na Na" and "Still Light", which could be considered an interlude and an outro respectively, keep the momentum churning and have the melody and grace to remain interesting. Little bores here, and while some later songs dull in comparison to "Silent Shout" or "We Share Our Mother's Health", they are all effective and never filler. On Deep Cuts, The Knife seemed to have some less-than-nescesary songs that just built the 17-track foundation at best, but here there are 11 sturdy, carefully crafted and well-compressed songs that in the end make Silent Shout a fantastic experience. Its The Knife's best yet, more sophisticated and catchy than ever before, with the lasting value to boot. This is worth it for fans of electronic music, and an essential for The Knife fans. Silent Shout is a unique and murky performance from one of Sweden's more charming and interesting electronic groups, and an excellent album all the way through.



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user ratings (503)
Chart.
4.2
excellent
other reviews of this album
snydely (5)
Deranged vocals and icy, lifeless techno make for one of the greatest albums of our time...

Zachary Powell (3.5)
Dimming the lights on their previous work, The Knife rediscover themselves, and they discover that t...


Comments:Add a Comment 
WashboardSuds
February 13th 2011


5025 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

finally got around to reviewing this record,
comments and constructive criticism appreciated

combustion07
February 13th 2011


5376 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

From Off To On is one of the best things ever.

scissorlocked
February 13th 2011


3511 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this is a really interesting album I need to listen better,I never got past Na Na Na



Digging: Traumprinz - All The Things

scissorlocked
February 13th 2011


3511 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

and good review .keep it up, The Geogaddi one was also great

pos'd

WashboardSuds
February 13th 2011


5025 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

thats lame because a couple of the best songs on this record are after Na Na Na imo (Marble House, Like a Pen)

i can see why you stopped tho because all 4 songs before Na Na Na are excellent, and the rest is sort of a "like it or not" taste

WashboardSuds
February 13th 2011


5025 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

and thanks, glad to see you like my reviews :]

scissorlocked
February 13th 2011


3511 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I probably wasn't in the mood of listening it, it is kinda important for such albums

Irving
Staff Reviewer
February 13th 2011


7312 Comments


This was a great review - especially if it was just your 10th. The only suggestion I would give is to improve the introduction. To be honest, it drags quite a bit, and struggles to sustain a reader's interest. I understand a historical review may be the hardest thing to jazz up, but to me that suggests either a.) attempt to make the backstory more accessible, or b.) drop it completely.

My two cents. Oh, and have a pos.

Yotimi
February 13th 2011


6523 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

And Washboard continues to review Yotimi's favorite albums.

Keep it up man!

Fluorine
February 13th 2011


104 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I recently fell in love with this album. All of it is brilliant, and Na Na Na really blows me away. Etc Etc.

One thing that I'm really confused about: I thought that Karin does all the vocals, but some people say she doesn't. The truth is...?

FoetidPothos
February 13th 2011


38 Comments


Excellent album.

I think Karin does all the vocals. Listen to Fever Ray and you'll find her voice distorted or notched down several octaves as is done here.

WashboardSuds
February 14th 2011


5025 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

I think Karin does all the vocals. Listen to Fever Ray and you'll find her voice distorted or notched down several octaves as is done here.

son of a bitch, you're probably right. Listening to some Fever Ray (which is just Karin, no Olaf), I heard those same manlier vocals you hear in The Knife.
I already said Olaf was a singer in all 4 of my Knife reviews, but I guess its too late now :]

Yotimi
February 14th 2011


6523 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Karin does most. But I think Olaf does do some here and there

WashboardSuds
February 14th 2011


5025 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

But I think Olaf does do some here and there

I could have sworn I read up on thier home page or their bio or something that said they both take turns behind the mike, but then does that mean he leant his voice to Fever Ray? ah well, the world may never know

WashboardSuds
February 14th 2011


5025 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

besides, if that same voice was Karin's, why would she sing about "keeping my dick hanging out of my pants" on Hangin' Out (Deep Cuts)? I hope she's not a hermy

Yotimi
February 14th 2011


6523 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

That's her; she's mocking men.....She's kind of a feminist

WashboardSuds
February 14th 2011


5025 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

oh well, at least I won't make that mistake again :]
I suppose that explains why I never found "Olaf's" vocals appealing
found this interview that clears things up
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jRmmSd1bh14&feature=related

Karin does most. But I think Olaf does do some here and there

if I had to guess that's him singing on Marble House


DarkNoctus
Contributing Reviewer
April 29th 2012


8899 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

the :]'s drew me in, i like this a lot! [:

Xenophanes
Emeritus
April 29th 2012


10614 Comments


only heard the darwin album or whatever....didn't like


Digging: Kayo Dot - Coffins On Io



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