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The Knife: Silent Shout

The Knife: Silent Shout

Release Date:2006

By John Farley | Posted 8/9/2006

Techno heads and indie nerds alike know the story, but you may not: In 2005, Argentinean acoustic heartthrob Jose Gonzalez covered the bouncy "Heartbeats" off the Knife's 2003 album Deep Cuts. In underground terms, the previously obscure Swedish bro-and-sis electro duo blew up, so much so that by the end of the year both guys in silk shirts and girls in vintage Joan Jett tees were getting tired of hearing the song every time they went to a club. But those who went out and bought Deep Cuts expecting more thinking man's electronic bubblegum found an album that moved in every direction-often undanceable and creepy directions rather than infectious and coherent ones.

The Knife's third album, Silent Shout, takes Deep Cuts' disturbing atmosphere and condenses it into equally disturbing, yet tightly structured, frozen computer ass-shakers. Unlike the sprawl of the group's previous albums, Silent Shout is so meticulously arranged and sequenced that there's no standout track, but "Neverland," "One Hit," and the title track are the most likely to burn down a dance floor. Sister Karin rightfully keeps her seat as lead vocalist, singing painfully Swedish, almost comically dark lyrics like "In a dream all my teeth fell out/ A cracked smile and a silent shout." Brother Olof's yelp-which sounds like Sloth from The Goonies impersonating David Byrne-pops up here and there, put to best use in "From Off to On," with cute, robotic boy-girl harmonizing. The pair tinker with their voices less here than in the past, although "The Captain" sounds like some gremlins got into a vocoder. But though Silent Shout is the Knife's tightest record yet, halfway through the first listen, it's clear the album recycles a lot of the same sounds. They're used ingeniously, but you can only hear the same Oriental steel drum clang so many times.

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