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The Knife 

Shaking the Habitual (Universal)

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There have been plenty of excellent albums released so far in 2013, but The Knife’s Shaking the Habitual feels like the first really important one. It’s a beast at 94 minutes, with nearly a half-hour devoted to ambient drifting or jittery experimentalism, but what makes the record significant is its activist tone, fearless creativity and percussive mania. Lead single “Full of Fire” is a provocative, menacing rush that laughs at pop music’s old sexual tropes (“Let’s talk about gender baby/ Let’s talk about you and me”). The rest of the album follows suit, offering in-your-face beats and expansive soundscapes throughout, and generally culminating into a shocking, inspiring experience.

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