Knives Don't Have Your Back

Metascore
73

Generally favorable reviews - based on 18 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 18
  2. Negative: 0 out of 18
  1. The songs are emotive, and yet have catchy hooks; they are at times unrestrained and at others, calculated.
  2. Knives is a quietly simmering LP.
  3. Alternative Press
    80
    Knives Don't Have Your Back is like the soundtrack to an excellent Alfred Hitchcock film. [Oct 2006, p.200]
  4. Knives Don't Have Your Back is a striking contrast--and a poignant, subtle companion--to last year's Live It Out.
  5. Under The Radar
    80
    A lovely record. [Summer 2006]
  6. Urb
    80
    Haines has... shown glimpses of a broken and beautiful solo artist just waiting to tell her story. This, my friends, is that breakout album in spades. [Oct 2006, p.122]
  7. With such sparse instrumentation, these songs are still thick; there may not be a beat here to dance to but there is a lot to grab on to certainly.
  8. Uncut
    80
    Haines... is shaping up as the most impressive writer of the current wave of Canadian indie. [Jul 2007, p.103]
  9. The results unfold like a well-plotted novel.
  10. etric's clunky riffage and hi-hat beats are replaced by simple piano figures and subtle adornments (strings, feedback, breathing organ) that draw out Haines' most stirring vocal performances to date, and the muted milieu highlights her natural, sensuous whisper, lending a sympathetic thrust to these broken-down anthems for a thirtysomething girl.
  11. Stripped of their cosmetics, some tunes on Knives Don't Have Your Back seem underdeveloped, but they prove what always needs to be proved in the vortex of postmodern pop--that an artist like Haines can do more than hide behind her influences.
  12. She may not excel on her solo album the way she has with Broken Social Scene or Metric, but it's still a rainy-day listen.
  13. Emily Haines' breathy voice lacks range and sometimes character.
  14. A lap or two behind many of the albums it seemingly aspires to be (Cat Power, Radiohead, Fiona Apple and Elliott Smith comparisons have been made before and seem almost invited) 'Knives...' still has enough personality and original thought to shield it from accusations of simple derivation.
  15. What the Soft Skeleton lacks is that sassy power Haines embodies with Metric.
  16. Essentially, Haines' piano playing and singing are lovely, but Knives' timidity, coupled with mundane and occasionally outright bad lyrics, keep this record in check.
  17. The lows are low for sure, but the highs are largely absent.
  18. Spin
    40
    Mostly frustrating... the spare instrumentation and samey melodies wear you down. [Oct 2006, p.96]
User Score
8.3

Universal acclaim- based on 22 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 17
  2. Negative: 1 out of 17
  1. OnceBitten
    Nov 22, 2006
    3
    Knives Don't Have Your Back is a perfect title. Emily Haines would never stab anyone in the back, all her old acquantences back in Knives Don't Have Your Back is a perfect title. Emily Haines would never stab anyone in the back, all her old acquantences back in Toronto can attest that she's truly progressive, truly cares about the masses, isn't in it for money, fame and power, would never use her gender as a weapon, would never take money from say someone like Michelan Tires, she's incapable of lying, she'd never cheat or screw over other musicians, she always keeps her promises, her word is her bond, you can certainly trust her, she's got your back, she's selfless and she has nice clothes too, wow, she's so perfect. Believe the hype! It's all true!! Full Review »
  2. Alex
    Aug 12, 2007
    8
    You either love this cd, or find it boring. Even though the songs may seem a little repetitive, I personnaly loved it. Emily Haines' You either love this cd, or find it boring. Even though the songs may seem a little repetitive, I personnaly loved it. Emily Haines' voice and the soft melodies really got me. Full Review »
  3. Dusty1/2
    Jul 9, 2007
    10
    Excellent, to hear in the night with a pain jaajaja.