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Emily Haines & The Soft Skeleton Choir of the Mind

Emily Haines & The Soft Skeleton — Choir of the Mind (September 15, 2017)

 Emily Haines & The Soft Skeleton — Choir of the Mind
•ιι♣     Editorial Reviews: “It’s time: Emily Haines is back with Fatal Gift — the first listen from Choir of the Mind, the Metric singer’s first release as her Soft Skeleton solo project in a decade. Haines’ vocals are definitely the focal point of Choir of the Mind. She used her voice to create spellbinding orchestrations for an effect that is subtle and ghostly on “Wounded,” lush on “Fatal Gift” and deeply powerful on “Legend of the Wild Horse,” which she calls her “soft anthem.” Haines’ voice is the only audible instrument on “Strangle All Romance,” and she creates mesmerizing layers that drift and swirl through the title track, which includes a spokenword part adapted from a poem by the Indian mystic Sri Aurobindo. Haines recorded Choir of the Mind over several weeks in September and October of 2016, more or less alone in Metric’s Toronto studio with a borrowed 18~foot grand piano built in 1850. Her longtime musical partner/Metric bandmate, James Shaw, helped flesh out the sonics with various instruments and rhythmic elements. (Shaw also mixed the album). Sparklehorse drummer Scott Minor, a member of the Soft Skeleton’s first incarnation, returned to perform on “Legend of the Wild Horse.” Haines says, “The writing and recording process was heightened and intensive, the two became one thing.”  
Born: January 25, 1974, New Delhi, India
Origin: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Instruments: Vocals keyboards piano guitar tambourine harmonica
Notable instruments: Sequential Circuits Pro~One
Location: Toronto, NYC, Oakland
Album release: September 15, 2017
Record Label: Last Gang
Duration:     59:09
01. Planets     3:08
02. Fatal Gift     6:05
03. Strangle All Romance     2:36
04. Wounded     3:51
05. Legend of the Wild Horse     4:49
06. Nihilist Abyss     4:22
07. Minefield of Memory     6:07
08. Perfect on the Surface     4:02
09. Choir of the Mind     6:51
10. Statuette     5:40
11. Siren     4:40
12. Irish Exit     2:24
13. RIP     4:34
♣   Choir of the Mind — the new album from Metric front~woman Emily Haines’ solo project, The Soft Skeleton — is out today via Last Gang Records/eOne. The LP marks her first solo album in a decade, following Haines’ previous solo efforts.
The hotly anticipated record is the subject of extensive critical acclaim:
♣   “Choir of the Mind…is a nuanced meditation on loss and injustice, and a stunning showcase for Ms. Haines’s vocal harmonies.” — THE NEW YORK TIMES
♣   “[The] ethereal quality of her new material is enhanced by lush, layered vocal passages interwoven with her breathy, gauzy singing.” — ROLLING STONE
♣   “An ambitious collection that expands Haines’ solo palette in every way.” — NPR
By Liisa Ladouceur, Published Sep 13, 2017. Score: 8
♣   “People drift away….people drift away…” sings Emily Haines in “Planets,” the dreamy opening track to Choir of the Mind, her first solo record in ten years. Said people could be anyone — the 43~year~old frontwoman of Metric and member of Broken Social Scene knows plenty — but is more likely the self.
♣   Choir of the Mind’s 13 songs, composed almost exclusively of vocals and piano, are a journey to the centre of Haines’ brain: anxious and questioning, mostly, but with sparks of defiance. Sparklehorse drummer Scott Minor appears on the centrepiece “Legend of the Wild Horse,” a quietly powerful rock ballad surrounded by more breathy, ethereal material but peppered with the occasional pulse quickening beats of “Fatal Gifts” (which could fit well on any Metric album) and “Perfect on the Surface.”
♣   For the most part, it’s quite a solitary endeavour, even on the title track, with its multi~layered voices (all Haines) over spoken word about feminine strength. It all drifts along at an unhurried pace, but if you’ve been waiting a decade for more of Haines’ most intimate music, you’ll be rewarded for taking the time to let Choir of the Mind sink in.   ♣   http://exclaim.ca/
Label: http://lastgang.com/
Website: https://www.ilovemetric.com/
Website: https://www.emilyhaines.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Metric
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/metric
Emily Haines & The Soft Skeleton:
•ιι   Knives Don’t Have Your Back (2006, No. 28 in Canada)
•ιι   Choir of the Mind (2017)
•ιι   What Is Free to a Good Home? (2007)

Emily Haines & The Soft Skeleton Choir of the Mind