[sic] Magazine

Fever Ray – Fever Ray

The striking lyrics of ‘When I Grow Up’ are, strictly speaking, nonsensical. Karin Dreijer speaks of her dream to run through the moss of a forest in high heels and to stare at a seashell, waiting for it to embrace her. Ambitious they may be but they do the job of helping you forget that this is Dreijer’s ‘settling-down’ album – a project she made after creating one of the greatest albums of the 21st Century so far. With kids, with a house, with a Husband, her self-titled debut hints at the dread of routine and daily life but the music is so far from routine that it’s so easy to get drawn into thinking this is The Knife’s next step in world domination.

Far from it – her brother had no part in this record. Instead, Karin immersed herself in her thoughts and her own thoughts only, equipped with the synths and the rhythms herself and us as a listener are so accustomed to when listening to the music she makes. The only real comparison you can draw between Fever Ray and ‘Silent Shout’ is the lack of an up-beat tempo number to draw between the spooky and whimsical majority of the content. Instead, Fever Ray chooses to remain comfortably numb throughout. This leads to an increased difficulty in getting on friendly terms with the record – it’s difficult to play the record time and time again without a much-needed break.

None the less, there are still bombshells. Even between the hazy atmosphere and the deep, dreary but relaxed state of mind of the album, comes a heart-soaring chorus (’Seven’ and ‘Concrete Walls’ both deliver) or an unexpected progression of drums and energy (’I’m Not Done’) that help freshen the album up when it’s necessary. It’s difficult to imagine Fever Ray to be as well thought out as the last Knife record, but it still makes note of the potential it has to bore you. You’re as drawn in as you could be from the off, thanks to ‘If I Had A Heart’, a throbbing, frightening affair, rich in a cold bass groove that scares the hell out of you. But the rest of the record is a little lighter and more digestible. ‘When I Grow Up’ is the first to reveal a bouncy yet equally as twisted side to the album’s personality. The unique synth sounds finally enter and can be found again in ‘Triangle Walks’, ‘Seven’ or actually -a large part of the record. It could be dismissed as a collection of the samples used for ‘Silent Shout’ but you presume there’s more to the recording process than just that.

The clever thing about Dreijer’s work with her brother was the way in which the superb quality of the lyrics only strike you after several listens. This record is no different. Each and every song is drenched in so many vocal effects that treat such as the strikingly dark “dangling feet from window frame, will I ever ever reach the floor?” and the beautifully delivered “can I come over? I need to rest. Lay down for a while, disconnect”, come close to staying unnoticed. The rest of the record exposes itself a little sooner, perhaps too soon – the moment you become accustomed with it all, nothing much sways you from your opinion. It’s just fortunate that very quickly, you’re more than convinced by Fever Ray’s ambitious nerve to create the most haunting music you’ll hear for some time.