Silent Shout (W/Dvd) (Dlx) インポート
Silent Shout Deluxe Special Package 2CD+DVD. This 3-disc Deluxe Edition includes the SILENT SHOUT album, a DVD containing 'Silent Shout - An Audiovisual Experience' live concert, plus every video they've ever made, and a bonus audio disc of the content. SILENT SHOUT was awarded Pitchfork's #1 Album of 2006, and ended 2006 a critical favorite!
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Silent Shout is a darker album, both for this band and electronic music in general. However, in the darkness it creates, it also manages to reassure. It isn't a bright and happy album, but it doesn't drag you down either, instead leaving you feeling empowered.
The album opens with the self-titled track, which moves at a very deliberate pace. The main synth riff remains consistent, yet constantly twists around itself and avoids becoming repetitious in doing so - in short, it's brilliant. The aforementioned darkness becomes apparent when Karin's vocals finally kick in - digitally altered and multi-layered, she sounds somewhere between male and female in tone (which is later hinted at in the song's lyrics). This approach is haunting and eerie, and works very well for the atmosphere of the album.
On "Neverland", things seem to cool down a bit - the beat is steady and pummelling, but overall simplistic. Karin's vocals are more normal this time around, but still fierce. Overall it's a great song, but seems to take things back a bit...which is a perfect set up for "The Captain". So far, the album has been dark and experimental, but still pretty catchy and danceable. But "The Captain" takes a different approach. At just over 6 minutes long, it's almost the longest song on the album, and moves at a glacial pace, beginning with a slow, ambient, and slightly depressing synth intro. It's not until about halfway through the song that things really pick up, with Karin singing some very strange, high-pitched, nasal vocals. But once things pick up, the purpose of the intro becomes clear - this song is a battle cry, so to speak, and without the slow start, would totally lose its impact. It's genius, and shows that The Knife is willing to stray from the path a bit, rather than just producing club hits, which I definitely commend them for.
With that being said, "We Share Our Mothers' Health" brings back the catchy, energetic mood with some hard-hitting beats and synth lines. Karin uses more normal vocals again here, but uses a digitally-altered, deep voice for the chorus of the song, which makes the song that much more ferocious of a track. Though this track and the previous one are stark contrasts to one another, both are favourites of mine.
The rest of the album is just as experimental and consistently amazing, with the exception of "Na Na Na" - however this song is very short and feels like an intermission in and of itself, so I'm willing to excuse it. Many styles and important lyrical topics are at play throughout the remainder of the album, leading this to be one that I would honestly consider a masterpiece. If you're a fan of electronic music or music in general, you owe it to yourself to check out this superbly dark work of art.
As for the deluxe edition bonuses - they are worth the extra cost. You get Silent Shout itself, but also a live album, which contains a great mix of songs from throughout the bands career (some of them sound drastically different, too - "Pass This On" gets a much more moody tone in comparison to its original tropical, upbeat flavour, for example). There is also a DVD version of this live album included, complete with concert footage - but I find the video quality very lacking in clarity, which is disappointing, because the show seems extremely interesting, visually speaking. Also included on the DVD are a few music videos and a mini-documentary, I believe - I can't comment on those, however, as I haven't yet watched them.
Ultimately, Silent Shout is an electronic masterpiece, and the deluxe edition remains a great way to experience it. Don't think twice about picking this one up - it's more than worth it.
The title track also has subtle shifts in dynamics. Toward the end, the main keyboard line gains a louder and sharper sound, the individual notes start to blur together as if the music is about to fall apart into noise. But instead, there's a break, the turbulence quickly dies down, and ghostly echoes appear in the outro.
The album as a whole is a bit less brilliant, but still immensely enjoyable. The composition is firmly rooted in the song-oriented style of the early nineties, which brings out the originality of the songwriting. Karin Dreijer's vocal style was probably inspired by Bjork's (the same heavily-accented dissonance), but Bjork never thought to warp her own voice the way Dreijer does in "The Captain." She comes on suddenly, after a long, Autechre-like ambient intro; the distortion renders the lyrics unintelligible and makes her voice sound like the call of some shrill, wild bird. There is a certain triumphant, predatory tinge in the vocal rhythm. You'd think they were singing about war instead of sea captains.
In many songs, the lyrics appear to express some kind of oblique, vague feminism. "Neverland" is apparently about a high-end call girl who coldly regards her clients, "One Hit" appears to mock traditional ideas of gender roles, and "Forest Families" seems to be about how a young woman feels stifled growing up in a provincial town where adults "said my favourite book was dirty, and 'you should not show you can read.'" I say "seems" because most of the lyrics are indirect, and often suffer from Bjork syndrome, where awkward metaphors and grammatical mistakes are passed off as an original way of expression. For instance, "From Off To On" bothers me a bit, since it uses such an earnestly sentimental delivery (and a demonstratively childlike melody, which I'm pretty sure they lifted from some old Russian children's LP or other) to say such lines as, "we want happiness back, we want control of our bodies" (is that really such a problem in contemporary Sweden?), followed by, "I had a dream about deleting and killer whales." But that's just me; Bjork fans will be all over this.
What appeals to me more is the album's tight sense of the dramatic, something it shares with early Underworld. "Forest Families" is sort of a simpler version of "Silent Shout," with the same type of worried keyboard line. But, whatever one may think of the lyrics, when Dreijer intones, "music tonight / I just want your music tonight" in the chorus, that really captures the frustrated young person's desperation. "Marble House" has a swooning, colossal chorus. The verses and music aren't anything special, but when the distorted falsetto starts warbling the rhythm of the chorus, it's pure pop heaven. "Neverland" sounds as icy as its subject, and when Dreijer hoarsely repeats "the money burns in my hand," it creates a haunting sense that the protagonist is about to snap under the pressure.
There are only three songs where I don't care for the music: "We Share Our Mothers' Health," "Like A Pen" and "One Hit." All three songs are much less melodic than the rest of the album, and use a jagged analog drum-and-bass rhythm section similar to Aphex Twin's Chosen Lords. "One Hit" is the best of the three, since the lyrics are pretty funny, but none of them can boast anything in the way of melody. In my view, that's the only reason to give the album a less-than-perfect score.
Overall, though, this is without question one of the five or ten best albums of the decade. It's the first electronic album of the 2000s to really go back and relearn the lessons of the early nineties, but instead of merely imitating the classics, it uses them to emphasize new, creative musical ideas. In particular, the first three tracks are extremely strong, and make one feel like one is experiencing something completely new and unheard-of. If the entire album doesn't quite meet that standard, that's only because it's a really high standard.