Knives Don't Have Your Back-Emily Haines & the Soft Skeleton 

(Last Gang)

This solo debut from the frontwoman for Toronto indie-rockers Metric (and contributor to Canadian indie collective Broken Social Scene) is exactly the kind of record I tend to struggle with: a moody, mopey, atmospheric singer-songwriter exercise with not-quite-concrete lyrics. But Haines' vocals are surprisingly expressive and precise despite their near-whispered monotony. Discernible hooks emerge from the oceanic piano passages. And though meaning is slippery, the poetic, thinking-aloud lyrics are plenty evocative line by line. ("We're moderate, we modernize/Our hell is a good life"; "You sing from a book you were reading in bed and took to heart/All of your lives unled.") ("Our Hell," "The Maid Needs a Maid," "Reading in Bed") -- CH

Grade: B+

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