The Knife - Colouring of Pigeons - Singles - Reviews - Soundblab

The Knife - Colouring of Pigeons

by Rich Morris Rating:9 Release Date:2010-01-06

One could quite easily make a case for The Knife being the definitive artists of the last decade. Across three albums they moved through moody, spooky folk pop, skewed euro dance complete with cheesy rave synths, and nightmarishly dense, heavily percussive electro-funk. They also made 'Heartbeats', a synthpop song so perfect it rendered La Roux redundant before she had recorded a note and provided José González with a hit cover version on which to base his stillborn career. To round off the decade, Karin Andersson released her solo album under the moniker Fever Ray, a brooding and mysterious work which made just about every 'best of' list going.

But none of that will prepare you for this. Taken from their soon-to-be-released album Tomorrow, In a Year, an opera based on the life and works of Charles Darwin, 'Colouring of Pigeons' (available to download at Theknife.net.) presents another leap forward for the Swedish duo. Stretching across 11 minutes, there's simply far too much happening here to take in on one listen: claustrophobic, pensive percussion, chiming eastern motifs, droning cello and threatening brass combine to form the soundtrack to an imaginary Hitchcock thriller. Over this Karin's familiarly desolate voice entwines with a full-on, room-shaking operatic diva performance from an unknown singer. What it has to do with Origin of the Species is anyone's guess, but it's unlike anything released in the last year and confirms one's suspicions that The Knife, alone or together, are incapable of making music which doesn't break barriers and invent new rules for others to follow.

Richard Morris

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