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Customer reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars
3.5 out of 5 stars
Format: Vinyl|Change
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on 8 June 2013
I don't write about music too often. music is my passion for a long, long time but, in fact, this is my very first (short) review. And probably one of my last. So, it really means something to me.... :)
This album needs some time but if you clear your mind and forget about all kind of useless concepts or preconceptions (the knife should sound like this.....or like that....some songs are longer than i want them to be.... others are shorter...bla bla bla...) then you might be able to fully enjoy it. IMHO, albums like this are quite rare these days: it's very creative in a way of its own. My favorite tracks are: .....(just joking....)
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on 10 August 2014
Complete self indulgence from what I thought was a great act, I love the first two albums this should have been great, this is just noise and the art work/middle class socialist rubbish cover on the cd is what I'd expect by a school band. Unadventurous and boring really sorry to say that, what happened to the knife that were in mix mag 10 years ago running through the snow wearing beak masks? This is not them, the vocals are still fantastic just poor material.
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on 30 January 2015
Have been a loyal fan but this is garbage. pains me to say it.
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on 29 July 2014
I'm a long time fan of The Knife, I think they're two of the most inspiring, intelligent, and talented musicians around, and i've enjoyed their side projects Fever Ray, Oni Ayhun, and the Darwin opera Tomorrow in a Year, which in many ways seems to be a precursor to this.

Shaking the Habitual can almost be split into two albums, first the more traditional Knife songs with beautiful lyrics and utterly amazing sounds, songs such as -
A Tooth for an Eye ~ surely one of the best tracks of the last few years
Full of Fire ~ where they mix gender politics with a (metaphorical) nine minute gun fight
Without You My Life Would be Boring
Wrap Your Arms Around Me
Raging Lung ~ one of a few songs which includes that scraping metal factory sound, wonderful
Ready To Lose

And secondly the more experimental and 'difficult' tracks, with few lyrics and a purer focus on sound, which would include -
A Cherry on Top
Old Dreams Waiting to be Realised
Stay Out Here
Fracking Fluid Injection

Whilst the first list is sure to be more crowdpleasing, the second is bound to disappoint many. Whilst the second list is full of interesting music and ideas, and seems very much a follow on from the long musical tracks found in Tomorrow in a Year, it lacks that albums clear concept, and therefore sometimes feels a bit aimless and indulgent, especially on the almost 20 minute track 'Old Dreams..' With the Darwin opera those sounds were perfectly matched to Darwin and the theory of evolution and the voyage into the natural world, but with this there isn't quite such a clear connect between sound and concept.

But actually to split the album apart into those two distinct factions is quite a violent act, they belong together, feeding off each other. There is a clear aesthetic which is apparent in every song throughout the album, and which is new and much more complex than any other Knife album.

It is an essential listen. It's not ambient music as some people seem to claim, ambient says to me 'background music' and this clearly requires attention, and it will slap you round the head until you give it. This is an album about contemporary life, on a social, personal and political level, and contains the most roaring and (i have no other word but) gorgeous and jarring sounds around. And maybe it's our shortcoming if we don't like it because it doesn't contain as many seductive pop beats as Silent Shout.
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on 13 June 2013
I have enjoyed previous Knife and Fever Ray stuff but this album only hints at how good it could be. There are a few standout tracks but im bored of the sort of drone ambient noise fillers - heard it all before (do younger fans find this exciting and new?) the odd one or two like this is fine.

Generally It sounds a bit like the Knife are taking the p*ss a bit and i feel a bit like a sucker for buying this because of that feeling, there is only suggestions of the greatness that could be here, overall its ok but I expected something better.

On the +plusside I really like the artwork and packaging : )
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on 28 December 2013
This set occasionally takes off ands hints of original thought but is mostly rather dreary 'experimental' filler that unnecessarily uses up my life
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on 21 May 2013
Both CD versions need a trim. Take all the tracks over the 2 CD version and you would get an excellent CD. Now, I dont mind a bit of experimentation (Pere Ubu, Bjork, Eno) it can be very rewarding but direction and continuity always helps an album. The first five tracks are excellent but A Cherry does highlight the CD's problem with a low key, false start. Also, after the electronic cyclone of the first tracks where does the ambient electronic chill of Old Dreams come from? A real curve ball, and one that is totally at odds with what has gone before, and unnecessary given that Fripp and Eno did the same sound 40 tears ago on No Pussyfooting. In many ways there was no point doing another Silent Shout as Fever Ray is in that particular sonic territory and consequently Habitual is the right way for The Knife to go, but it just needs to be edited to be more rewarding.
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on 18 April 2013
There's been a lot of rhetoric surrounding the release of this album. Some journos could not score the album on a scale of 1 to 5. After reading lots of what is written about this record already, I approached with trepidation, as if one listen could change my reality...music will never be the same..my head could explode. I've heard it. Plugged it into my ears on a train from London to Manchester and listened to it whole.
My head remains en tact, my sanity is as it was.

So what has got everyone spooked?? Shaking the Habitual is starkly twisted; bleak at times but I found it altogether fascinating from start to finish. Even the emptiness of Old Dreams Waiting... was sort of interesting but contrasted the rest of the ensemble IMO. Most of the sounds in here reminded me of some early-mid 90's techno (think Laurent Garnier, early CJ Bolland, Luke Slater, Joey Beltram etc.); strange noises intertwined with raging, pulsating beats - but with The Knifes contorted lyricism threaded through the mayhem. Some of the tracks are pure animals - Full of Fire, Stay Out Here, Wrap Your Arms Around, Networking - all spit and lust. Others are reflective and searching or uncompromisingly wierd (Fracking Fluid Injection).

One thing is for absolutely sure, this album is unique and inspired. This is not to say that all people will enjoy Shaking the Habitual, lots of people will struggle to listen. It is mostly a white-knuckle ride from start to finish: some people will come out the other end feeling exhilarated with a beaming smile; others will be dazed, confused and feeling a little ill.
If you like your beats dark, furious, pulsating and twisted - serve this one up. Just be warned - it will not be to everyones taste.
By the way, this was a perfect soundtrack to speeding through the English countryside at 125 mph.
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on 30 June 2013
Reviewing 'Shaking The Habitual' can be done in two ways. 1) As a piece of art - in which case it deserves 5 stars, and 2) As a piece of music - which deserves between 1 to 2 stars in my opinion. Why? Because musically, and comparing to their previous (superb) efforts, this album is not up to scratch. Simply put, the majority of the album is NOT pleasing on the ears. An overwhelming majority of the minutes are wasted on experimental, industrial and electronic noise. There are some beautiful passages and moments, but they just aren't repeated enough, or the rest of the song proceeds on being dragged out to a painstaking length. And this is really frustrating. The only coherent 'song' on the entire LP is the last track, 'ready to loose'. This is a moody and haunting song, but annoyingly it isn't long enough.

Negative points aside, and looking at 'Shaking the Habitual' from an artistic perspective, I can appreciate what The Knife were trying to do with this album. The LP is a statement. A protest. An experiment. It does not conform to what we all expect from musical artists. It tests the boundaries and pushes the patience of the listener. It's all political by the way. The Knife are a political band.

So to summarise as I began. 1) As a piece of art this is ground-breaking. 2) As a record, this is disappointing.
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on 21 May 2014
If you came to this album from their previous work you are in for a surprise. I am finding this a difficult album to enjoy at present. WIll persevere.
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