Emily Haines is an artist who defies labelling.

Written and recorded over four years in Los Angeles, Montreal, Toronto and New York, her debut solo record, Knives Don’t Have Your Back, included contributions from Sparklehorse’s Scott Minor, Broken Social Scene’s Justin Peroff, Stars’ Evan Cranley and Metric’s Jimmy Shaw. A distinct contrast from Metric’s bold, danceable sound, Knives is an intimate and subtle collection of mellow, piano-driven tunes complimented by soft string and horn arrangements.

Toronto-based Metric climbed the ladder the good old-fashioned way. Years of writing, recording and performing earned them their stripes as a bonafide success story. Their magnificent journey has taken them around the world, collecting accolades and critical acclaim along the way. 2003’s Old World Underground, Where Are You Now? went gold in Canada in December of 2005. Quick on its heels was their September 2005 sophomore release, Live It Out, which achieved a Canadian gold record in March of 2006. Third LP Fantasies has surpassed Platinum status in Canada and continues to invite new fans. These experiences and successes inform the bold, exuberant part of Emily Haines’ artistic persona. Knives Don’t Have Your Back, and the intimate live performance she’s created in its support, illustrate her more introspective, personal body of work.

Haines’ decision to release a solo album was long in the making. “When I was a little kid…I would creep downstairs to the piano and write rudimentary songs about imaginary places,” she says, “I’m told the first song I ever wrote was a love song to a cranberry tree. I always used the mute pedal. I hated the idea of anybody hearing me. Everywhere I’ve lived while working with Metric, I’ve written songs on the piano and played them for no one. On the advice of a friend, I decided I’d better start recording them before they were forgotten. Four meandering years later I ended up with this collection of songs featuring a few of my favorite people, a group I call The Soft Skeleton.”

Each song on the album holds a personal story from Haines’ life over the past decade. One track, for instance, was written years ago while she was studying electroacoustics in Montreal, and is an homage to childhood heroes Carla Bley and Robert Wyatt. Several songs, including “Reading in Bed” and “Mostly Waving” were recorded in Toronto during the winter of 2002, while Haines was mourning the sudden loss of her father, poet Paul Haines. A handful of songs were conceived during Metric’s early years, when the band was struggling to make ends meet, while more recent tracks were written with a change in perspective, as Haines faced Metric’s growing success.

Rob Fox
Ideal Friends

United States
Sophie Smith
Big Hassle Media

Available in the Last Gang Shop:

Knives Don't Have Your Back

Album by Emily Haines & The Soft Skeleton


What Is Free To A Good Home?

Album by Emily Haines & The Soft Skeleton


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