The Knife - Silent Shout

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  • 'Silent Shout' is the third album from The Knife, the brother sister dance/electro/pop act of Karin Dreijer and Olof Dreijer. Formed nearly eight years ago, the Scandinavian pair hailing from Stockholm, Sweden are back with a new look and a healthy dose of twisted synth pop. Their past projects have echoed political frustrations and inner feelings fraught with pain and angst, and again on this new album, The Knife's music is very dark and suggestive. With this superimposed morbid aura; this is certainly not an album for the faint hearted. The opening track ‘Silent Shout’ has already seen remixes pressed on vinyl and namely by Troy Pierce. A single bassline lays the foundation for some deep synths, which build and build with a profound vocal layered over the top. This track sits well in most electro sets with its good mix of vocals and build up. A similar darkness continues through the album with more excursions into noir synth pop, with tracks like 'Neverland' and 'F As In Knife'. The Knife certainly have a sound and they most definitely have a look. All the press coverage of the pair depict two artists wearing black pointy-nosed masquerade ball styled masks, suggesting a rather grotesque involvement with the dark side. The sound and look do slightly support each other in aid of a kind of over analysis of art meets death disco. Track 3, 'The Captain' really gets charged with obtuse lyrics and stomping chords while 'We Share Our Mother's Health' takes a step back - the lyrical content and song writing at their best here: melodic, grouchy and opinionated. Things get a bit more upbeat on ‘Na Na Na’ with a very nice building instrumental, around a twisted chord and minimal beat construction. The bare vocals make this song perfect for home listening or club action. Continuing on through the album, Olof’s production skills really shine through on 'Like a Pen' with more emphasis on the vocal and not so much of the technical and effects overkill. Even without the vocal, the track could stand alone with its catchy hooks and ghostly chords. On ‘Marble House’ the pace slows and the emphasis focuses on Karin’s singing, which at times, comes across as quite complex with clouded ideas. Karin has been quoted as saying ‘Silent Shout – its like when you dream and really want to scream something, nothing comes out’. 'Silent Shout' definitely screams loneliness and obscure inner visions but optimism exists, surely, I am hoping. Overall it is the raw emotion on 'Silent Shout' which affects the listener, not the vocals or production. While the production has improved (more so Olof’s studio tricks), the album lacks depth and variation, exhibiting a sound I would describe as icy cold with inner visions. Karin again brings that angst, subdued, distorted, and jaded ghostly vocal and song writing, and while this album is better than the last, on many occasions too many effects make it too complex to understand the message. This means constantly re-listening and re-addressing your thoughts of the pair. Complicated, uneasy, beautiful and mystifying, this album, like most, has good and bad moments. The Knife have an over abundance of style and vision and I fully understand and appreciate their artistically led and politically motivated standpoint. Ultimately, however, the album evokes thoughts of Bjork on drugs with DK7 arranging instrumentals on a ghostly Roland 909.