The Knife

Shaking the Habitual (Universal)

There have been plenty of excellent albums released so far in 2013, but The Knife’s Shaking the Habitual feels like the first really important one. It’s a beast at 94 minutes, with nearly a half-hour devoted to ambient drifting or jittery experimentalism, but what makes the record significant is its activist tone, fearless creativity and percussive mania. Lead single “Full of Fire” is a provocative, menacing rush that laughs at pop music’s old sexual tropes (“Let’s talk about gender baby/ Let’s talk about you and me”). The rest of the album follows suit, offering in-your-face beats and expansive soundscapes throughout, and generally culminating into a shocking, inspiring experience.

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