Emily Haines & The Soft Skeleton
"Knives Don't Have Your Back"

(Last Gang Records 2006)Emily Haines & The Soft Skeleton - Knives Don\'t Have Your Back

Emily Haines, with her strangely named backing band, The Skeleton, have recorded an album of deeply melancholic compositions. The arrangements are usually pretty spare, with Haines leading the songs with her gentle piano melodies, occasionally highlighted by orchestral flairs such as trumpets, harmoniums, strings, etc. Haines' vocals are a real delight, with tone substituting for range in terms of expression. Hers is gorgeous and emotive, often delivered with a world-weariness that adds to the dimension of the material.

"Our Hell" sets the album for what is to follow, with a melody that ventures in between easy accessibility and into terrains that sound more avant-garde. "Doctor Blind" is a Goth sounding tune, which surprises you with its wonderful middle eight section, wherein the strings echo her vocal melody in a mesmerizing atmosphere. "Crowd Surf Off a Cliff" is more of the same. In fact, most of the songs do tend to deliver the same dark melodies, the same slightly off kilter piano notes, the same detached vocals. However, it's hard not to enjoy each song for what it has to offer, even if its quality is preceded in other material. Therefore, a continuing analysis of each song separate in itself is not required as far as this particular review is concerned. The same combination of lovely piano playing with orchestral flourishing dominates song after song. "Detective Daughter" displays guitar feedback around Haines' delicate vocals in one part, which works in its cleverness, but besides that interesting diversion, each song is arranged basically the same.

This is a great piece of work and deserves a listen.


buy it!