Picture the scene, you are an obscure musical outfit, notorious for your belligerent attitude towards the press, fiendishly controlling over every aspect of your musical/visual output, then, you have a hit song, a surfer covers it and you become known for it across the globe? What do you do? Well you claim it back, darken it up and release it again of course. At least that’s what The Knife have done with the blissfully electric summer smash of last year – Heartbeats.
Admittedly, it was Heartbeats that turned me on to brother/sister Swedish duo The Knife and I became subsequently rather fond of albums Deep Cuts and the near-perfect Silent Shout. Now I hate to sound like a kill-joy but this latest live version is simply nowhere near the original album cut – Karin and Olof seem determined to strip it down in their live shows, essentially rejecting the fair-weather fans that the original single and the corporate re-hash by Jose Gonzalez (balloons flowing down a San Fran hill anyone?) brought with it. Instead, they have produced a poignant reminder of their penchant for the darker sounds of electronica. They have ruthlessly claimed back their work of art simply to throw a pot of grey paint all over it. The end result is, aptly, disheartening; bubbling electro replaced by a dull thud that actually sounds like slow motion in audio. When The Knife performed this live version late last year in London, you could taste the disappointment in the air; the original song is a carefree, excitable child, while its successor is it’s melancholy, terminally ill grandfather.
There we have it. Three versions of the same song; a veritable electro sandwich (Gonzalez served as filling) with the first bite, as ever being the tastiest.
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