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The Boston Globe

Music

Album review | INDIE ROCK

The Knife, ‘Shaking the Habitual’

Calling “Shaking the Habitual” an album sells it short. The latest from the Swedish electronic duo the Knife, it’s more along the lines of an installation piece you’d find at a gallery, a knotty tangle of polyrhythms, distorted vocals, and heady influences ranging from French philosopher Michel Foucault to gender studies. It’s pop music that belongs under glass: Look, but don’t touch.

It’s the kind of record that is so self-possessed and primal, it nearly steamrolls the listener. Thirteen songs give way to 98 minutes and address everything from sexuality to the evils of capitalism and political corruption. Oh, and there’s a song called “Fracking Fluid Injection” full of fractured and oscillating vocals. (Let that be the line in the sand.)

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