“I’m telling you stories, trust me,” Karin Dreijer Andersson howls on “A Tooth for an Eye,” the second song to emerge from the Knife’s upcoming Shaking the Habitual. The phrase, which appears multiple times in British novelist Jeannette Winterson’s 1987 novel The Passion, recurs in the Swedish art-pop duo’s description for the “A Tooth for an Eye” video. Directed by Swedish multimedia artist and staunch feminist Kakan Hermansson with like-minded, Los Angeles-based artist Roxy Farhat, the clip shows men of various ages in a locker room, who then break into dance on the gym floor under the watchful eye of a young woman in a referee-like uniform. Sparklers near the end recall the joyful opening of Beasts of the Southern Wild. The video’s YouTube description says it “deconstructs images of maleness, power and leadership”; in a week where we’ve seen Tina Fey and Amy Poehler pitted against Taylor Swift over an out-of-context Madeleine Albright quote, that message of equality is welcome. But you don’t need to know any of this to be curiously transfixed by the video’s expressive elegance.
Shaking the Habitual is due out in the United States on April 9, and you can pre-order it here. The similarly feminist-inspired video for the album’s much-longer “Full of Fire” is here. As Pitchfork points out, the “A Tooth for an Eye” video actually contains an edited version of the track; stream it in its full six-minute glory below.
Shaking the Habitual tracklist:
1. “A Tooth for an Eye”
2. “Full of Fire”
3. “A Cherry on Top”
4. “Without You My Life Would Be Boring”
5. “Wrap Your Arms Around Me”
7. “Old Dreams Waiting to Be Realized”
8. “Raging Lung”
11. “Stay Out Here” (Shannon Funchess, Emily Roysdon and the Knife)
12. “Fracking Fluid Injection”
13. “Ready to Lose”