The Knife – Silent Shout

The KnifeThere is the school of thought that if an artist or band allows their music to be used on a commercial of any sort, then they lose their artistic integrity. This is usually espoused by bands that will be forever be rooted in the underground, or by high-minded hipsters who of course would never sell their integrity if they were actually in a band. But some of my favourite bands have let their music been used in, ads from the Pixies to Aphex Twin. So where to draw the line? Is there even a line? Last year, Sony used Jose Gonzalez’ sensitive cover of “Hearbeats” (by fellow Swedes, The Knife) to sell some flatscreen TVs. The commercial and song made Gonzalez a minor star, and brought the spotlight onto the previously unknown electronic duo. Despite being rather big in their native Sweden, The Knife hardly had a presence elsewhere, with only a few electronica fans making a fuss about their debut in 2003, Deep Cuts.

So now, we’ve got the latest album from The Knife, a dark piece of electronic distortion. The band create a frosty, distant atmosphere that’s not exactly welcoming on the first listen, but eventually the album’s beauty starts to shine through. “Marble House” is the type of track you’d find on a modern, European art-house flick that deals with doomed love. It’s bleakness is strangely likable. “Like A Pen” initially sounds like dripping water on a metal floor, before the undulating electronics come in. “From Off To On” is a gentle, warm electronic piece, “Forest Families” is another plusating minimalisitc track, but the harmonies on the chorus give it a hook. In fact the vocals are probably the most ear-catching thing on the album. They’re treated as an instrument, distorted and warped to make them almost alien like.

It’s not all great; “The Captain” is too long, and by contrast, “Na Na Na” is too short. Neither track really go anywhere or reach a conclusion. Silent Shout isn’t an easy album to get into; it took me a couple of listens before I started getting the hang of it, and finding the beauty that’s hidden in the tracks. It’s not an electronic album that’s going to have people dancing, but it’s something that does reward the listener if you can put the effort in.

The Knife – We Share Our Mother’s Health:


  1. Bitchin’! Within about 30 seconds I knew I liked this song. It is a bit repetitive though.

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