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VINE VOICEon 28 October 2006
If you like the band Metric (of which she is the lead singer) or Haines' work with the Canadian collective Broken Social Scene (notably vocals on `Ballad For a Seventeen-year-old Girl') I can't, in all honesty, predict whether or not you are going to like this album at all!

This album is, while at first a rather inpenetrable one, surprisingly addictive. I actually thought it worth only 2 or 3 stars on the first listen but, on repeated listening, it just seemed to get better and better.

The nearest this album gets, musically, to anything on Metric's album 'Old World Underground, Where Are You Now' is probably 'The Lottery' and it reminds me ever so slightly of 'Calculation Theme' but even that connection seems tenuous and nothing on the latest Metric album even comes close.

On this album Emily plays piano and sings - that is basically the deal here. There are also other musicians involved of course, drawn from the firmament of Canadian talent that currently seems almost unstoppable, but this is a very personal recording and it is hard to reconcile this album with her 'Metric' persona. Released by Last Gang Records, it is presented in a quite splendid digipack including full lyrics. My current favourite tracks are 'Crowd Surf Off A Cliff', 'The Lottery', and 'Reading In Bed' but that could well change with repeated listening.

It is difficult still to see how this album fits in, until you delve in to the background of both band and artist, when some of it really starts to make sense - particularly if you can find a copy of her 1996 release "Cut In Half And Also Double".
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VINE VOICEon 27 December 2008
If you like the band Metric (of which she is the lead singer) or Haines' work with the Canadian collective Broken Social Scene (notably vocals on `Ballad For a Seventeen-year-old Girl') I can't, in all honesty, predict whether or not you are going to like this album at all!

This album is, while at first a rather impenetrable one, surprisingly addictive. I actually thought it worth only 2 or 3 stars on the first listen but, on repeated listening, it just seemed to get better and better.
The nearest this album gets, musically, to anything on Metric's album 'Old World Underground, Where Are You Now' is probably 'The Lottery' and it reminds me ever so slightly of 'Calculation Theme' but even that connection seems tenuous and nothing on the latest Metric album even comes close.

On this album Emily plays piano and sings - that is basically the deal here. There are also other musicians involved of course, drawn from the firmament of Canadian talent that currently seems almost unstoppable, but this is a very personal recording and it is hard to reconcile this album with her 'Metric' persona. Released by Last Gang Records, it is presented in a quite splendid digipack including full lyrics. My current favourite tracks are 'Crowd Surf Off A Cliff', 'The Lottery', and 'Reading In Bed' but that could well change with repeated listening and after a couple of years they still are pretty much so (but also search the EP 'Free To A Good Home').

She doesn't need knives - the lyrics and vocals can do all the cutting and pasting that will be necessary. CUT IN HALF AND ALSO DOUBLE - forget that, or the new Metric album due in early 2009, at your peril.
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VINE VOICEon 29 May 2007
Well this certainly is a departure from Haines' day job as lead singer with Canadian electro-rock outfit Metric.

Gone are the chunky rock riffs and the bounced up dance beats, this is sparse to say the least. Most of the times it's basically Haines and a piano, although it is backed up with some strings and horns.

An intelligent solo artist has emerged, sounding completely different from what we would normally expect and the story she is telling is one you want to listen to.

One critic summed it up succinctly in saying that Knives Don't Have Your Back is like the soundtrack to an excellent Alfred Hitchcock film. Sounds like a winning formula to me. And whilst it may not quite sustain itself over the space of a full album, it's still well worth a listen. Indeed you could make a compelling case that, vocally, its the best Emily Haines has ever sounded.

Some might find it a little too one-paced and not be able to listen to it all in one go, but there is no doubt in my mind that it's a great, reflective, piece of work that benefits from repeated spins.
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VINE VOICEon 17 October 2007
I became aware of Emily Haines early this year through a friend, and before hearing this, was unfamiliar with her group work with Metric and Broken Social Scene, so my opinion of this album is unrelated to anything that has gone before.
Its an album which slowly gets under your skin and stays there. The basis of all the tracks here is simply Haines' soft hushed vocals and delicate piano, backed by a few select musicians, who add a few extra textures here and there. The result is a hypnotic, dreamy sound that makes time almost stand still, with Haines' gorgeous voice and melancholy melodies managing to be poignant and moving and yet giving an air of stillness and calm.
Her lyrics are thoughtful and without cliche, and at times quite dark and haunting, as on the outstanding Crowd Surf Off A Cliff, and Doctor Blind.
She sounds like a woman who has suffered her share of broken hearts and disappointments, and there is an almost resigned air to the conclusion of The Lottery, another one of the album's standout tracks : "will we always be like little kids/ Running group to group/ Asking 'who loves me' / Don't know who loves me/Its pathetic, its impossible/ Like girls in stilettos trying to run."
There is a similar sentiment in Detective Daughter: "Love is hell/ Hell is love/ Hell is asking to be loved."
This gentle sadness is present through much of the album, the lovely Reading In Bed being another example, but there is never a sense that there is any hint of self indulgence or wallowing, but then there is no 'celebrity' with this lady, just her music, which is incredibly refreshing in an age of endless 'all mouth but nothing to say' attention seeking no mark 'celebs'. It isn't the sort of music that will recieve much airplay, but then, like all quality music, its more suited to close listening attention than radio aural wallpaper.
Possibly the best track of all is 'Winning' which closes the album, where her voice is at its most softly winsome and hypnotic.
This version is the original American release, but its worth noting that the UK/European version is available on this site for £5 cheaper and with 3 bonus tracks, and you don't have to wait so long to get it, so look that one up if you want to buy this. You won't regret it.
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on 20 March 2010
This album is amazing, very calm, relaxing and meaningful and it stucks in your mind , it's nice to listten to it at evening time when you're relaxed or even before bed. I like to explore internet and find new music to enjoy, got a bit sick from POP, and now I found this album and bought it, it's great album to have in collection.
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