“Shaking the Habitual”
The critically adored and perpetually impenetrable Swedish sibling duo returns with the follow-up to 2006’s “Silent Shout” with “Shaking the Habitual,” a hugely political and mind-numbingly expansive work.
To write about this album in a condensed format is almost unthinkable. The album is an especially long 96-minutes, even with the high quality those minutes contain.
Despite this, when working past the hour mark with “Networking,” it’s difficult to criticize The Knife. Even at that distant point, the little collages of sound made up of eerie, echoing blips and clips are still effective. The Knife is always gripping, even when listeners are worn down.
The song order is also unfriendly to the casual listener. The most easily accessible and boisterous songs are at the front: the subversive kaleidoscope “Full of Fire,” the wail and jungle beat of “A Tooth For An Eye” and so forth. The more long form tracks of excessive runtimes fill the album’s second half. It’s all great, but it can be easy to get lost later on.
All that said, there’s still a reason The Knife is so revered. The Knife is an entity and talent unto itself; tracks like the two already mentioned and “Without You My Life Would Be Boring” are rapturous pieces.
So good, but so long—“Shaking the Habitual” gives the feeling of being deserving of both reward and punishment for its expansive scope. The proper judgment leans towards the former, though. There really is no one quite like The Knife.