Head Cheese

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Not only does Emily Haines not fit the model, she doesn't want it. Knives Don't Have Your Back, the first solo album from the Metric vocalist and member of Toronto's Broken Social Scene, wears its piano hush like so many singer-songwriter albums. Its melodies are elegant sketches, perfect for exploring what gentle souls do after dark, and the supporting instrumentation stays buttoned up. But Knives isn't a just vanity plate on an already busy and varied career. Haines makes sure that its genteel pace always buoys her lyrics, which explore pierced hearts, tough questions, and "sexual suicide" (from "The Lottery," which spars with feminism), and Haines' gifts as a vocalist ensure that her every meaning rings loud and clear. It's intimate music wrapped with a barbed-wire whip. Here are Haines' top five reasons why knives will never have our backs:

5. How can a knife be loyal? That's asking too much from chilly, sharp steel.

4. Knives are weapons of protection ... but they're just laying there, waiting for a fight. And, yes, knives are also useful for cutting fruit and vegetables. But who knows what they get up to when cutting the fruit and vegetables is over.

3. Knives are handy for stabbing: They can be small things tucked away secretly in back pockets, or big swords whipped out with a swoosh sound, slashing your flesh when you least expect it.

2. Knives are sharp: Lean on a knife, and you'll get hurt.

1. Knives are dangerous: They don't have souls. They don't feel pain or get emotional, ever. They can't be trusted.

 

Jan. 11 at Magic Bag, 22920 Woodward Ave., Ferndale; 248-544-3030. With the Tall Firs.

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