Boomkat Product Review:
Over its sprawling 100 minute length, 'Shaking The Habitual' is a bold, almost overly self-aware statement from one of the most exciting prospects in pop music. Some of the reviews that have already surfaced have described the 'impenetrability' of the album, and while the originality and non-conformity at play is to be applauded, there is little on this album that would (or should) scare off anyone with an interest in music beyond the mainstream. It's the fact that The Knife's audience is so sizeable that makes 'Shaking The Habitual' such a tantalising prospect - they have access to the masses, and they are using that power wisely. Many of the tracks are long and don't follow any pre-determined formulas. from the 9+ minute drum machine powered 'Full Of Fire' (with an ace. elongated bassline that kinda makes the whole thing work, anchoring you to the floor), to the 7 minute 'Networking' (a track that seems to have modelled itself on Erik & Fiedel's classic 'Donna'), to the 19 minute minimalist/drone restructuring 'Old Dreams Waiting To Be Realised' and the Africanised brilliance of the opening 'A Tooth for an Eye' - it's all really good fun and quite often provocative, which is really what you would have hoped for from such an enigmatic duo. There are moments that grate - the vocal halfway through "Stay Out Here" that goes on about the collapse of the Euro is proper cringe-inducing (somehow reminiscent of Einar ruining so many good Sugarcubes songs) despite the fact that the drums are really nicely compressed and arranged, and overall you sort of wish that The Knife would relax a little about how original they are being (NO HABITS!) - but overall you just cant argue with an album that really isn't content to do the same thing over and over - and does what it does really well. Album closer 'Ready To Lose' is also the shortest and most conventional on offer - just to show you that they can do that too, and listening to it now, as it starts to fade out, we quite fancy giving the whole thing another spin straight away - which really tells you quite a lot about the enjoyability factor here. So yeah - it's a goodun.