Life’s not always easy and so is art. Just ask THE KNIFE. When the Swedish siblings Karin Dreijer Andersson and Olof Dreijer announced Shaking The Habitual last year, their first album in seven years, the buzz was immense. When it was finally released disenchantment arose quite soon. The record, although not really bad, received mixed critics. The duo distanced itself from the experimental synthpop of 2006’s Silent Shout by going into an even more avant-garde direction which clearly lacked of the group’s ability to bring a certain irresistible pop approach into the sound cosmos. To be honest – we still don’t know what to think about Shaking The Habitual.
The accompanying live show also received mixed critics, partly also due to the lack of old classics. But THE KNIFE are adaptive and recent gigs of the Shaking The Habitual tour included some old favourites in new versions. Everyone who can’t attend the current dates of the duo can now also enjoy these new old songs as a mini-album. Shaken-Up Versions features eight tracks that perfectly fit in the duo’s current stage concept.
It’s all about pumping beats, hypnotic basslines and the distinctive voice of Mrs. Dreijer Andersson. The Shaken-Up Versions create a hypnotic drive that soaks you right into the sound and vision of THE KNIFE. Far better than Shaking The Habitual did. We Share Our Mothers’ Health stays quite close to the original and Got 2 Let U also recalls the catchy pop drive of the duo’s early recordings. From tribal drum action in Bird to dry house music groove in Pass This On – the Swedes dedicate their mini-album to the groove. Even when the new version of Ready To Lose slows things quite obviously down.
The pumping techno of Stay Out Here and the indestructible Silent Shout deliver a great finish and prove that THE KNIFE are still capable of combining artistic approach with accessibility. Maybe this could work as a possible future direction for the crafted duo. But one thing remains after this little ‘album’ – these siblings are still and will be highly unpredictable.
With their ‘Shaken-Up Versions’ THE KNIFE reconcile with everybody who declined the duo’s latest work by bringing the pop back into their experimental sound environment.
NBHAP Rating: 3/5
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