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The Knife

"A Tooth For An Eye"

[Rabid/Brille/Mute; 2013]

By ; March 13, 2013 

Purchase at: Insound (Vinyl) | Amazon (MP3 & CD) | iTunes | MOG

The Knife are nothing if not consistently evocative and wonderfully prone to dark synth-driven escapism. Focusing their attention toward the darker recesses of their own (and their listener’s) minds, the duo of Karin Dreijer Andersson and Olof Dreijer have never been strangers to the chaotic emotional impulses that sometimes threaten to engulf us at any given moment. Andersson wails like she’s seen behind death’s door, but uses her siren’s voice to warn rather than attract. And Dreijer’s dense and often enigmatic instrumentation has always complimented Andersson’s otherworldly growls and moans–to such a degree in fact, that it’s often hard to separate the vocals from Dreijer’s compositional contributions.

We received our first taste of The Knife’s upcoming album Shaking The Habitual with industrial thumper “Full of Fire.” Their latest single, “A Tooth For An Eye,” continues the band’s exploration of and obsession with emotional ambivalence and gender neutrality–this song could be sung to and for anyone. There are no discernible borders or restrictions, either tangible or intangible, and I think that that particular aspect of the song has become an inherent part of The Knife’s oeuvre. Favoring heavy percussion over melodic rigidity, “A Tooth For An Eye,” as well as “Full of Fire,” looks to create vast stretches of scorched-earth tonal ruin and musical turbidity. But what shakes the song (and listener) to the core is the complete sense of isolation and a very profound desperation that plasters itself like a thick, viscous veneer over the clattering percussion and ghostly vocals. And at some point, solace may yet find its way into their music, but until it does, we can enjoy each darkly serpentine emotional twist and turn that Dreijer and Andersson are willing to share.

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