(Photo by shbib)
I recently described my posting habits on You Can Call Me Betty as 'wilfully difficult', but the truth of the matter is that I'm just pretty lazy at rooting out the new music. Generally, brand new things get a cursory listen and if they inspire me to further listens within 10 seconds, well, well done them. Such was not The Knife. I tend to take a fairly perverse attitude to things which are popular, and although I've overcome my post-adolescent aversion to anything touched by the clammy hands of the mainstream, I'm still a little put off by something that The Internet is going bonkers over. Such as The Knife.
I don't feel like I miss out on much, to be honest. I tend to view these bands as faddish and not nearly as interesting as fawning commentators suggest. Which made it nice when one of these bands was recommended by someone I actually know, and who has musical opinions I respect (to a point, don't let's go nuts here). The Knife are a Swedish combo - you may know them best, depressingly enough, for a cover of one of their songs. The incredibly boring José Gonzalez mumbles Heartbeats over those phone adverts with the bouncy balls, and put me right off originally, but having heard The Knife's original, I am more than impressed. It's a great song at the beginning of an album of great songs, and certainly deserves to be better known in it's original state than its stripped-of-everything-including-emotion singer/songwriter guise.
You wouldn't generally expect an electro/synth band to go hot on the emotive aspects of pop, but you would be foolish to presume it's not possible. Check out M83, for example, or even Air for this, and add The Knife to the list. They're also charmingly eccentric, appearing only rarely in public and not without their semi-Papa Lazarou masks. They're playing The Forum in October, so I might be able to report back then. Heartbeats has these aching vocals, not mechanical at all, which is what sets them apart in my book. Plus, as has been mentioned, they do have an ace synth sound.
The Knife - Heartbeats
The Knife - Take My Breath Away (MHC remix)
José Gonzalez - Heartbeats
<$>The Knife/José Gonzalez<$>
Tags: The Knife; Sweden; José Gonzalez; synth; electro