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Lighting up to join the coping crowd

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Emily Haines & the Soft Skeleton
What Is Free to a Good Home?
Last Gang Records
released, July 24, 2007

Emily Haines' (of Metric) latest EP What is Free to a Good Home? is by far her greatest solo work to date. I've always felt that her debut full length Knives Don't Have Your Back was hit or miss, mostly the latter. I expect a lot from Ms. Haines. The songs just weren't as hard hitting and coherent as I had envisioned them to be.

What is Free to a Good Home? starts out with the smooth jazz "Rowboat". A chorus of prolonged horns ushers you into a song full of meandering piano lines, steady brush-hit drums, and Haines' breathtaking vocal melodies. "The Bank" is my favorite track on the EP. Over which Haines croons the poignant lines: "Whatever it is spit it into a bottle and sell it to me/I’m looking to buy freedom from my sobriety/Just like Huey Lewis/I need a new drug/I need a new drink/I need a new drug that does what it should".

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Sometimes I feel dejected enough to identify with this bleak, substance-abused message. I just never vocalize it and that's why it's so amazing to hear lines like these gracefully trilled by Haines. She's got the same wacko propensities that you do, but she's willing to divulge them. Brilliant.