Emily Haines and the Soft Skeleton: Knives Don't Have Your Back (Last Gang)

CD Review


When Emily Haines last performed with Metric in Cincinnati, she wore a black, homemade dress riddled with angled slits. Enough holes to show skin, but still remarkably classy. With too-long bangs shielding her eyes, Haines danced like a tripping robot, sweating alone in her zone, untouchable. But on Knives Don't Have Your Back, Haines busts through her bony shell, showing another side, delivering soft, personal pieces that are rich and sexy enough to bring zippers down. With a mix of hot mystique and raw life, from sultry words to sweet, sensitive keys, Haines bleeds rare charm and vulnerability. Trash all preconceived notions here and instead, expect delicate, slick, piano-driven melodies that'll hook and draw out the senses, one at a time. With a caged animal feel, the overall style is calming, but underneath, Knives is as breathy and hypnotic as Hope Sandoval, and as gritty lyrically as Cat Power, at times slightly landing in the land of Portishead. Intricately connected, these songs blend together, giving it a relaxed, full, consistent, overall "album" feel that carries through, start to finish. Haines steps back from the Pop comfort zone and, instead, spills her guts. Grade: A- (C.A. MacConnell)