Review Summary: In comparisons to the duo's other efforts, "Shaking the Habitual" both excels and fails in bettering them...
When highly anticipated albums are announced these days, there’s always hype surrounding it. Going into The Knife’s “Shaking the Habitual”, there was a massive amount of hype, with the expectations soaring, only to come crashing down. However, "Shaking the Habitual" makes up for it with its criticisms of the royal family and the music industry, while bringing attention to the inequality of families who are wealthy and people in poverty.
Despite that, “Shaking the Habitual” is plagued with several problems, such as the length of the album. Ninety minutes seems understandable for concept albums and instrumental records, but for an IDM group heavily inspired by avant-garde styled music, it doesn’t work. Another issue is within some of the songs and/or “pieces” such as “Crake” and “Old Dreams Waiting to Be Realized”, with the former being a waste of space with it consisting of feedback and electronic fodder, fitting of something like “Metal Machine Music”. The latter, while a nice composition, drags on for fifteen minutes too long and fails to capture the attention of the listener, with it failing to gel as it goes on, and makes it look as The Knife is trying too hard to be experimental and avant-garde; it simply drags down the duo and the quality of the album itself.
Other songs, such as “Networking”, “Full of Fire”, and “Wrap Your Arms Around Me”, make for the highlights of the album, with it managing to entertain the listener with the exotic lyrics of Karin Andersson layered among the keyboards that make those tracks so great, making for a perfect pair. Even with the length of “Shaking the Habitual”, the album manages to get stronger near the end like the duo had been given an adrenaline rush, and makes for some of the best electronic music out there.
Even with the issues on “Shaking the Habitual”, it is a good album, but fails when attempting to be consistent. While it may take several listens to fully understand the duo’s ideas and what they were doing on this album, it makes for an enjoyable experience. Go see for yourself and see what all the hype is about, you’ll be sure to understand it.