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June 20, 2024

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Emily Haines & the Soft Skeleton
Knives Don?t Have Your Back (Last Gang Records)

By: Scott D. Lewis

Listening to Emily Haines, two words keep coming mind: Lisa Germano. It?s that voice: hushed, elusive, tired, scared, sexy. It?s certainly not the same voice Haines uses with her electro-dance outfit Metric ? this voice is full of mystery and dark seduction. Members of Broken Social Scene and Metric make up the Soft Skeletons, but as the vast majority of the sound is comprised of mid-tempo piano and Haines? lush, layered vocals, it?s clear from the get-go the Knives Don?t Have Your Back is Haines? own vision and vessel. It?s elusive, difficult music to categorize (indie art folk?) and it demands patience ? this is music to actually listen to and to savor. While the mood throughout the 11 tracks is dreamy and decidedly serene, sparse and searching, tracks like the fully orchestrated ?The Lottery,? ?Our Hell? with its toy piano sound and understated pop hooks and the jazzy, gently sinister ?Mostly Waving? keep things varied and interesting. Creative and captivating, Knives Don?t Have Your Back sticks in your head like a like a reoccurring dream that is delightfully spooky, seductive and spectacular. As a bonus, the CD comes housed in a lovely and artful hardback book, the black and gold cover of which is likely a nod to the albums of Haines? jazz poet father, Paul Haines, complete with lyrics and intriguing art that makes this curious album just that much more unique and special.

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