This week on Tracking––a regular series in which we discuss our current favorite songs––you can listen to additions from The Knife, Local Natives, My Bloody Valentine, Alpine and FIDLAR.
(Click on the arrows to navigate through the songs.)
The Knife – “Full of Fire” (1 of 5)
While MBV may take the cake for this weeks most long-awaited release (22 years Kevin Shields? Really?), new material from The Knife is nothing to sneeze at. After 2006’s stunning Silent Shout the swedish duo once again subverted expectations by falling off the map (at least under the moniker of The Knife). Their isolationist tendencies may be frustrating for their fans but it arguably makes their releases, when they finally do come, all the more triumphant. “Full of Fire” is everything one could have hoped for in a new track from The Knife, along with some added layers of grinding unease.
The elements that made Silent Shout so haunting are resurrected meticulously: the layered rhythms that pound intricately on top of one another; the icy, rich synth lines reminiscent of European techno; Karen Dreijer’s detached and snarling vocals. However, “Full of Fire” takes these foundations and adds a rough, industrial atmosphere, formed through vicious synth attacks and distorted vocal manipulations. Its nine minutes are filled with an almost constant onslaught of dense arrangements. As opposed to the crystal-clear synth lines of their earlier work, which evoked a cold yet solemn serenity, these sounds conjure up images of tanks rolling down streets and smoke grenades being thrown into crowds. Marit Ostberg’s accompanying visuals reinforce the sense of social unrest that fills the song. Dreijer sings, “when your full of fire, what’s the object of your desire?” Ostberg’s video touches on all of the frustration, anger, and sexual ambiguity contained in that line.
Dreijer has mentioned that her and her brother needed the presence of love before they could start their new album. That’s an odd statement in light of “Full of Fire.” However, love can often make us more adventurous, and this track is indeed one of the most ambitious, emotionally-charged songs that The Knife have released to date. –– Drew Malmuth