The Knife
Silent Shout


3.5
great

Review

by Zachary Powell USER (64 Reviews)
November 11th, 2006 | 110 replies | 23,891 views


Release Date: 2006 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Dimming the lights on their previous work, The Knife rediscover themselves, and they discover that they are quite good.

3 of 3 thought this review was well written

On my iTunes, the Knife is listed above Kool Keith in the artists section. Why is this significant? Well dispute playing for two different genres, Keith being the rapper and The Knife being the laptop electronica duo under review, they both have a way of doing their own thing among the other people who do what they do. Certainly no one except maybe recently MF Doom has taken the idea of giving a rapper multiple identities, not only in name but also in style and dress as Keith has done, naming and recording himself under "Black Elvis" and his most famous alias, "Dr Octagon". While not going under alternative names to record their music, The Knife instead put focus on making their music sound different with their approach of using a laptop for recording most of their beats and most of their songs. Since these beats exist purely on said laptop, it is hard to be able to perform live, but with laptops increasingly becoming a popular accompaniment for certain artists who play live (such as Girl Talk) this change of scenery can be taken lightly; except this album does not contain the light that the name would bring. Not a light album by any means at all but instead it asserts its moods as danceable, electronic pop songs with both male and female vocals with the feeling of cold and ice, like there is a rave but there are no lights, just beats. By staying what they are and while putting on a dark mask , the band does what they do best and they do it quite well.

The piece begins with the title track, Silent Shout which sets the cold and distant tone that will remain a part of the music the entire time. The most interesting part of this piece is not the lyrics, nor the low bass sounds that play as the rhythm section for it, but the combination of Karin and Olaf Dreijer's voices that become another sound section in it, sort of like another instrument. This interplay of voices comes in a minute into the song, complimenting the already established muff keyboard and bass thumps. It stays in the treble, balancing both sides of the musical scale and becoming a balanced attack. Just like My Bloody Valentine, emphasis is taken off the lyrics since not only are they difficult to understand at most points, the music that is made becomes the focus rendering them irrelevant. The veil on the keyboards is soon taken off and it is allowed to join in with the vocals fully in the mix, only being placed on the sidelines during the vocal parts. Eventually synthetic drums become part of the song and the ambiance comes into effect during the breaks which are played sometimes. The light but dark ambient approach has been established, but there is much more to go as displayed on the next track, Neverland. Changing the scheme with Karin taking the vocalist spot, her thick accent weaving through the story of Neverland. "Eyes are sober, this is the plan/I'm sitting in a car heading Neverland/A fancy man, a fancy man/He's pointing with the fingers that are left on his hand" introduces the band as storytellers and adds to their roles as not only being mood setters. The synthetic drums and the end existing as a keyboard outro shows The Knife not to be a one trick pony, capable of flawed yes, but still decent tricks.

Obscurity and a land made of ice and snow isn't the only place that the Knife dwell however; being lead into the minimal spotlight by Jose Gonzalez version of their older song "Heartbeats combined with having released videos and decent distribution of their newest album through Rabid Records have lead the band to make songs that would be designated as singles. The first one of these is the most produced and the most active one, "We Share Our Mother's Health". Both of the members sing on this one but instead of the same time, Olaf's voice is the reflection found in the low pond to Karin's high and mighty parts. The reflection of their duties adding to the song is not the only thing though, so are the added and never since heard noises that are revealed here. Sure the old spaceship noises begin it and the similar bass beat with quirky keyboard keep it going until drums section it, here are the robot noises being played and here is Karin waiting to babble on senselessly. We share our mothers' health/It is what we've been dealt" she states, [i]"What's in it for me?/Fine/Then I'll agree". They don't make the most sense, but with Olaf coming in to compliment his sister's goofy lyrics with words that are even worse, the sound remains a plus. Don't let this get you down though, their next superior single gets the release treatment too. On Like a Pen the introduction is extended with silence being the main theme before it gets rolling, but when it does it doesn't stop. What sounds like fast paced water droplets being joined by a common drum beat is whats happening until the keys make themselves heard, water still dropping. "Sharpen my body like a pen/Come on I need to show it/Something too small for a lense/If I rub it if I wipe it". Oh Karin your swanky sounding words joined with the repeating keyboard part gives us something to move to. The chorus moves quickly, existing with keyboards being the main topping of it, hi hat work being the base as it sounds like Karin blowing "ohhohhhhs" into the mic, classy.

The music is dark and intriguing, just like the band (http://www.energylab.de/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2006/04/knife.jpg) and their surrounding atmosphere/ That picture pretty much sums it up, the area surrounded by dark and snow, with only the two members as your guide. Occasional spots of light flood the area ("From Off To On", "F as in Knife") but for the most part it is atmospheric and dark, just like is is meant to be.

Highlight Tracks

F as In Knife (pop)
Like a Pen (smexy)
Marble House (atmospheric)



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user ratings (471)
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...

Kevin Kurber (4.5)
A Silent Shout you just have to hear...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Angmar
November 12th 2006



2689 Comments


Im not one for electronica but this review was excellent.

Neoteric
November 12th 2006



3243 Comments


Me voted.

La Revolucion
November 12th 2006



1060 Comments


I was about to review this. I've got the same opinion as you, so I won't. My favorite tracks are "We Share Our Mother's Health" and "One Hit."

bleep_bloop
November 19th 2006



37 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

this is by far one of my favorite albums of all time

mx
Moderator
December 20th 2006



733 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

This album is incredible --- and I don't like electronica

Apocalyptic Raids
August 26th 2007



810 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

album is okay. this duo is cool for a couple of songs but i can't sit through a whole album.

psilocybin
August 5th 2008



74 Comments


This is definitely a great review, I just wanted to point something out (two years too late): 'F as in Knife' is not actually on this album, nor is it by the Knife. It is actually 'Tar Heart' by Zeigeist.

gaslightanthem
January 5th 2009



5209 Comments


album is good but i think there is something missing - on the other hand it kinda feels like a grower!

Ibanezium
February 28th 2009



36 Comments


Just FYI Olaf never sings.. It's just Karin octaved down.

Great review nonetheless!

johnfromcca
March 30th 2009



45 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

i very much like this album; it's a lot like Kid A in both sound [though this is more melodic] and in the way that it creates feelings i've never gotten from music before.

yeahwhatever
June 7th 2009



1 Comments


your review is pretentious...

we share our mother's health makes complete sense...it's about one culture taking over another (via seduction and/or force) and imposing it's ideals (mother's health) on another. pay attention.

there are other problems with your know-it-all review but I won't be bothered.

brainsheldis
February 7th 2010



320 Comments


Why don't I like this...? Everyone seems to but it just seems like utter shit to me.
:/

TMobotron
Contributing Reviewer
February 10th 2010



6919 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

It's really different, so it might be hard to just jump in. Marble House might be a good way to get you into it, it's got some catchiness to it while retaining that same atmosphere they have for the rest of the album.

joshuatree
Emeritus
April 7th 2010



3743 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

mmm diggin this

AtavanHalen
April 7th 2010



17927 Comments


The title track is a rave and a half.

robin
Emeritus
May 17th 2010



4221 Comments


so good

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
May 17th 2010



15690 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

we share our mother's health and marble house aughhhh

Digging: Nmesh - Dream Sequins® [AMDISCS]

Gyromania
July 15th 2010



14641 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Marble house is so damn good

IAJP
August 18th 2010



378 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

red wine food for free

Slipping Away
September 27th 2010



1261 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

pretty good, the vocals rub me the wrong way sometimes but the music itself is pretty cool



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