Album Review: The Knife – Silent Shout

Release Date: 2006

What records do you spin during Halloween? Most "bogeyman music" is either made by sonically challenged basement musicians or ridiculously contrived death metal bands (I'm still waiting for a band to prove me wrong on this one). Silent Shout is merciless and disturbing, an excursion into the depths of demonic electropop. The beats here are not bubbly and funky, like you'd expect from any normal electropop band. Instead, eerie synths and menacing voices are the primary denizens of Silent Shout. Down tempo vocals do much to contribute to the atmosphere.

The Knife first gained public attention in 2005 with, wait for it … a track for a Sony Bravia television commercial. Since then, the band has reeled in its public image, so much so that they rarely perform at concerts and when they do, they wear bandit gear and balaclavas. When you see the duo perform without listening to the music, you expect hilarity, but you get nothing with the Knife. The music is deathly serious; you can easily imagine Karin Dreijer Andersson glaring at you with a knife in her hand as she mouths lines to Silent Shout. The sibling duo works uncannily well here, and their presence in the album plays off entertainingly. It is not difficult to image these two as partners in crime.

The fourth track, We Share Our Mother's Health begins with Andersson's voice pitch shifted across four octaves, an extremely unsettling, Bernard Herrmann-like sound as her voice splits between ear piercing highs and demonic lows. Noises that sound like chomping teeth and clucks of the mouth makes it seem as if the album pushes you under its murky waters until you feel increasingly lightheaded, as dance beats run in ever smaller circles around your ears. There is something primal here: it is not difficult to imagine these songs being sung by dancing savages around a campfire. There is no open sound-scape here either; Silent Shout is a cerebral, indoors only album that traps you in its otherworldly grooves.

The Knife is like the neighbors on the edge of the cul-de-sac that makes kids walk through a haunted house set up in their own garage to get candy for Halloween. For some kids, that trip through the garage is worth more than the candy. Likewise, the strange but wonderfully crafted journey that Silent Shout takes you is easily worth the feeling of unease it leaves you.

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Source by David Ye

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