Emily Haines & the Soft Skeleton

Knives Don't Have Your Back (Last Gang)

Phases & Stages

Emily Haines & the Soft Skeleton

Knives Don't Have Your Back (Last Gang)

Joining Leslie Feist, Amy Millan, and Neko Case, Metric's Emily Haines rides the wave of Canadian female artists breaking away from their male-dominated co-ops with her debut, Knives Don't Have Your Back, a collaboration with myriad Toronto/Montreal scenemates. Yet where those aforementioned Canuck beauties sing love songs about mushrooms, whiskey, and birds, respectively, Haines reads a tome of pills, crowd surfing, and maids – the life of a girl on the road. Melancholy, piano-driven melodies like album highlight "Reading in Bed" – "With all the luck you've had, why are your songs so sad?" – balance beauty with irony. Opener "Our Hell" is fearful and breathy, as is rolling closer "Winning," but what the Soft Skeleton lacks is that sassy power Haines embodies with Metric. That fearless female has given way to a pretty girl. And pretty girls might be nice to look at, but they rarely change the world.

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