September 27, 2006

Review: Emily Haines & The Soft Skeleton | Knives Don't Have Your...

Emily Haines & The Soft Skeleton -- Knives Don't Have Your BackEmily Haines has a lot going on these days, serving as frontwoman/indie rock goddess of Toronto outfit Metric and a part-time member of Canuck supergroup/collective Broken Social Scene. In her spare time while touring with Metric over the last four years, Haines recorded Knives Don’t Have Your Back, an intimate collection of piano-driven songs. Haines is backed on the album by The Soft Skeleton, a cadre primarily comprised of Scott Minor of Sparklehorse, Chris Seligman and Evan Cranley of Stars, Metric's Jimmy Shaw and Justin Peroff of BSS.

Unlike the uptempo, electronic pop offerings of Metric and the multilayered, epic stylings of BSS and Stars, Haines and crew here offer minimal instrumental accompaniment -- horns, drums, organ, guitar in addition to Haines’ piano and vocals -— to maximum effect. Songs like "Doctor Blind," "Crowd Surf Off a Cliff" and "The Lottery" explore themes of sexual politics and identity. Although this ground has been tread by many a female singer-songwriter over the years, Haines keeps things interesting with her plaintive, unadorned vocals and sardonic, non-sappy lyrics. In an age when many female pop vocalists hide behind autotuning and processing, Knives Don’t Have Your Back is a superb album that reminds us of the simple power of song. The set was released this week on Last Gang; we've posted a link to an MP3 of "Doctor Blind" below.

Hardcore Metric fans should take note of a charity auction that Frank Chromewaves is running right now to benefit the ailing Rogue Wave drummer we wrote about previously. Mr. Chromewaves is auctioning off a copy of the ultra-rare Emily Haines set Cut In Half And Almost Double from 1997; full details are here. -- Jay Kumar

Emily Haines & The Soft Skeleton -- "Doctor Blind" -- Knives Don't Have Your Back
[right click and save as]

[Buy Knives Don't Have Your Back here]

Emily Haines | MySpace

No comments: