Knives Don't Have Your Back

Knives Don't Have Your Back

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

Emily Haines is so thoroughly the public face of the dance-happy neo-wavers Metric that the idea of a solo album seems redundant at first. As it turns out, however, Knives Don't Have Your Back is utterly unique, far removed not only from Metric's often-hyper pulse but also from atmospheric post-rock gems like Broken Social Scene's gorgeous "Anthems for a 17-Year-Old Girl," still likely the song Haines is best known for overall. Members of both bands do appear here, but the focus of Knives Don't Have Your Back is strictly on Haines' vocals and piano. Recorded together live in the studio, with other instruments and vocals layered on afterwards, Haines' impressive keyboard skills (only hinted at in her other work) and alluring, throaty voice mesh perfectly; the combination gives Knives Don't Have Your Back the intimacy of a '70s singer/songwriter album, or perhaps that of a small-combo jazz album. That last comparison isn't at all that far-fetched: Haines is the daughter of the late Montreal jazz poet Paul Haines, and the spare black-on-gold all-text artwork is undoubtedly an homage to the similarly austere covers of her father's best-known albums, the Carla Bley collaborations Escalator Over the Hill and Tropic Appetites. An even closer comparison is Robert Wyatt, who provides a glowing testimonial on the back cover. Like Wyatt's solo work, Haines marries a sharp social conscience ("The Maid Needs a Maid," neatly riffing off an old Neil Young song, calmly eviscerates the frat-boy mentality in a single quiet verse) with a tendency toward elegiac, unhurried melodies. However, the keen pop scene that's Metric's strong suit can still be found on subtly hooky tunes like "Our Hell" and the simply lovely "Reading in Bed." Although far more low-key than Metric's nervy rock or Broken Social Scene's epic sweep, Knives Don't Have Your Back is a mature and engaging work revealing an exciting new side of Emily Haines, who is quietly turning into one of pop's most compelling presences.

Product Details

Release Date: 09/26/2006
Label: Last Gang Records
UPC: 0060270093225
catalogNumber: 932
Rank: 100842

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Emily Haines & The Soft Skeleton   Primary Artist
Scott Minor   Pedal Steel Guitar,Drums,Hammond Organ,Mellotron,fender rhodes,Group Member,Hammond B3
James Shaw   Trumpet,Harmonium,Hammond Organ,Melodica,Group Member,Hammond B3
John O'Mahoney   Guitar
Evan Cranley   Trombone,Group Member
Chris Seligman   French Horn,Group Member
Emily Haines   Guitar,Piano,Vocals,Wurlitzer
Justin Peroff   Drums,Group Member
Amanda Goodburn   Violin,String Quartet
Csaba Koczo   Violin,String Quartet
Stewart Pack   Pedal Steel Guitar,Bass Guitar,Electric Guitar,Group Member
Rafael Hoekman   Cello,String Quartet

Technical Credits

Robert Wyatt   Author
Scott Minor   Producer,Engineer,drum machine
James Shaw   Producer,Engineer,Horn Arrangements
John O'Mahoney   Producer,Audio Production
Emily Haines   Composer,Producer
Josh Hassin   Illustrations
Todor Kobakov   Engineer,String Arrangements

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Knives Don't Have Your Back 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
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