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Saturday, 14 April 2012

Emily Haines & The Soft Skeleton - Knives Don't Have Your Back LP

The golden tonsilled, contralto singer could hardly be criticised for playing it safe with this 2006 offering as it is so radically different from her day job combo; Metric's output. This is a stark, minimal piano driven album which emphasises and makes the most of Emily's special talent. Her voice oozes from the speakers like rich molasses spiked with velvety honey and chocolate butter cream icing, and that's before the accent kicks in and you realise all that sweetness is cut with a splash of Canadian Whiskey.

The lyrics are the real surprise however. In Metric the words and meanings are often a random mismatch of ideas presented in a collage format, but with The Soft Skeleton Emily cuts loose with some heartfelt and seemingly effortless poetry. Odd phrases stick in your mind and appear when you least expect them; 'rather give the world away than wake up lonely.' From a philosophical content perspective it's easily my favourite album of the last few years and was apparently inspired by the sad loss of her father. You can literally feel the emotion and passion in these songs.

All the songs are slow paced, memorable little crackers with the best of the bunch probably the achingly beautiful 'Winning', but closely followed by 'Doctor Blind' and 'Crowd surf off a Cliff.' Whatever your feelings about Metric this is an entity in its own right and listening to 'Knives don't have your Back' can only convince you that Emily Haines is a talent above and beyond the average pop singer. Heartily recommended.


  1. Does have the album version of this have the sound effects on, like her footsteps and rustling about in her bag? I quite like the feeling they give the track.

  2. Sdaly not, but it would have definitely added to the song. Weird video!

  3. "From a philosophical content perspective it's easily my favourite album of the last few years" eh? Well I ought to give the disc a listen then, thanks for the suggestion (-:
    I agree, very different to her day job, not familar with this side project of Metric, I like that tune above, has a lot of atmosphere

  4. I'm currently listening to this. It's all slow. Yet strangely I like it. My current favourite is Nothing & Nowhere. Good stuff.

  5. I wasn't convinced, but after the first couple of listens I was hooked. She's also made a solo album which I'm tracking down at the moment.