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Music Picks

The Swedes Are at It Again

Glittering, synth-driven pop from The Knife. ABBA part two?

By Elaine Corden 19 Apr 2007 | TheTyee.ca

Elaine Corden is a regular contributor to music pix and writes a monthly pop culture column on The Tyee.

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Warm electronica.

Another week, another fabulously catchy Swedish band with a knack for irresistible hooks and glittering throwaway loveliness.

This time, it's The Knife, a brother-sister duo who specializes in defiantly synth-driven pop with a pronounced bent for the '80s. Though the group has been making waves in their homeland since 2001, the release of their stellar 2006 album, Silent Shout, has generated international interest, and their 2003 single, "Heartbeats" (which you can hear on their MySpace page is currently a dance floor favourite.

While nothing in Silent Shout quite touches "Heartbeats," (covered by Knife compatriot, classical guitarist Jose Gonzalez) the album is an adventure in plastic-y electronica, tempered with quirky, melodic sensibilities and more than a little warmth. Think Lulu (the '60s British chanteuse who sang "To Sir, With Love") meets Ladytron (early-oughts fem-bot indie/electronica group) and you're almost there.

Oh, the Swedes. From the recent hits by Peter, Bjorn and John, back to the '90s giddiness of The Cardigans and all the way to the songwriting perfection of ABBA, (hell, even Ace of Base had their moments), the Swedes are the original and still-reigning champions of the perfect sugary pop song: pretty and hooky enough to withstand constant repetition, but still as light and fluffy as an end-of-season dandelion. Couple that with their immaculate design skills, progressive values, meatballs, health care, the lowest national ugly-people-per-capita rate AND the fantastic corkscrew I bought at Ikea last year, and I'm forced to admit: Swedish people are just better than the rest of us.

If you like The Knife, check out: The Bird and The Bee, Broadcast and Reverie Sound Revue.

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