Album Review: The Knife – Tomorrow, In A Year

March 9, 2010

A Tomorrow Of Kindness

Concept: An opera based on the life of Charles Darwin.

Sound: It’s easy to see this as a soundtrack and not an independent piece. The tracks often develop very, very slowly. Depending on your personal taste in/tolerance for electronic sounds, the throbs and chirps of many of the tracks may infuriate you long before the group begins to orchestrate them. The Knife, in the end, is known if at all for two things: their light shows and their obstinate weirdness. The composition itself is often lackluster, bordering on what some might call “minimalist”, so without knowledge of the performance accompanying the album its value to a listener depends on their individual preference for the selected timbres, as well as their limits in fudging the line between pop and opera.

Lyrics: Some of it sounds like it could have been lifted straight out of Origin of the Species; forgive me if I don’t pull out my copy for a resource check. Other tracks are focused but impressionistic. While several lyrics lack a strong inherent rhythmic quality, the vocal work does seek to imbue them with qualities evocative of their subject, or the subject’s speculated emotional hold upon Darwin. The strategies for this are often silly, but it’s an intuitive move which may at times grab a listener’s attention.

Quick And Dirty: In the huge coin toss this album presents, it snagged my favor. It’s a good thing aesthetically polarizing music is still out there to be made and listened to, which is not to say that any polarizing album is good. Tomorrow, In A Year flirts with the passé and the pretentious, and what it all boils down to is a few questions. Do you like birds? Do you like a little soubrette? Do you like electronic music? If you scored two out of three, give it a go. (♦♦♦½)

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