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Emily Haines & The Soft Skeleton: Soft and Warm

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Emily Haines.

Singer/keyboardist Emily Haines has made a name for herself as leader of Canada's dancey new-wave outfit Metric. But her solo work, by contrast, reflects a different approach that recalls the warmth and intimacy of a '70s singer/songwriter record blended with jazzy, experimental pop.

After self-releasing a limited quantity of her first disc, Cut in Half and Also Double, Haines joined Metric in 1998. Though she continued to write her own songs, it wasn't until 2006 that she decided to "start recording them before they were forgotten." After recruiting several members of the Canadian indie-rock community (from bands like Stars and Broken Social Scene) to back her as The Soft Skeleton, she released her first proper full-length debut last fall.

Titled Knives Don't Have Your Back, the record places Haines' powerful vocals and skillful piano work front and center. Although she has publicly stated that she prioritizes her position in Metric over her solo work, Knives is notably first-rate. Subtly compelling and quietly beautiful, it's as strong as anything Haines has recorded, solo or otherwise.

Copyright NPR 2016.

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