Fever Ray
Fever Ray


4.5
superb

Review

by Jeremy Fisette USER (35 Reviews)
April 4th, 2009 | 48 replies


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The Knife's Karin Dreijer Anderson has created one of the best albums of the year so far.

After spending many years working with her brother Olof in the popular, award-winning electro-duo The Knife, Karin Dreijer Anderson decided to start a solo project named Fever Ray. The Knife are currently on hiatus, and this solo adventure couldn’t be more desired right now. But for anyone who is expecting a solo record that sounds exactly like her past projects, you better stop here. Fever Ray is in no way “the next Knife album.” It is in fact a spooky, enthralling, and otherworldly set of songs that, for most, you couldn’t even tap your foot to.

On Fever Ray, Anderson pens lyrics that are miles more personal than she did for The Knife. Gone are the “I could *** your brains out!” of “Rock Classics,” and the indecipherable cryptic words of “Silent Shout.” Instead, Anderson has melded the two together to create a highly introspective piece of work. Lyrics like “Your hand... My hand... Fit so... Nicely” would have never appeared on a past Knife record, and if they had you probably wouldn’t even have it register in your head that it was such a soft and sweet line. That line comes from the third track, “Dry And Dusty,” which is a definite highlight here. It’s a song detailing the fragility and simpicity of existence, (“Dry and dusty / We are capsules of energy”). On her solo outing, she is so much more human, despite all the vocal affectations.

Which, speaking of those, there are plenty. Brilliant opener “If I Had a Heart” starts with an eerily glacial drone that loops throughout the whole song. Anderson disguises her voice in one of those software programs she is so fond of. If any element of past Knife records shows up here, it is most definitely the vocal transformations. “Concrete Walls” makes such deep use of that technology, as she sings “I live between concrete walls / In my arms she was so warm” with a low husky multi-part harmony. It’s a great affect, making the song a lot more claustrophobic as she explains the enclosing feeling of transitioning into and through motherhood.

Despite all the vocal affectations though, as stated before, she never once loses her humanity. On Knife favorites like “Heartbeats” and “You Take My Breath Away,” her voice has been less changed than on the more obscure ones like “She’s Having a Baby” or “From Off to On.” But there’s always been a deliberate distancing between us and Anderson. She saunters just close enough to our ears for us to be drawn into her magic. However, on Fever Ray, you find yourself more drawn to her than ever. These songs are much more naked than her past songs. That’s not to say there’s a meager number of interesting musical and technological tricks employed. The icy whir of “When I Grow Up” that takes over during the instrumental break marks one of the most accessible and more fun moments on the record. The handful of different stories on “Seven” are set against a slightly tropical-tinged sheet of sound, making its five minutes seem like three. And "Now's the Only Time I Know" is the most "poppy" number on here. She’s still got her sensibility, she just is using it in a different way.

Anderson is at her best on songs like “Keep the Streets Empty for Me,” which is the best thing here, and probably the most beautiful thing she’s ever written. There’s a loop-based drone in the background, which creates a skeletally minimal backing for her lyrics. Her voice is less altered here than it’s ever been, and she mournfully sings lines such as “I’m laying down eating snow / My fur is hot my tongue is cold / On a bed of spider webs / I think of how to change myself.” It’s the most somnambulant moment on the record, and it sways through your psyche like a brilliant and soft lullaby. “Take me home before the storm / Velvet mites will keep us warm,” is one of the best couplets, exemplifying Anderson’s newfound love for lyrics are heartfelt and relatable.

Karin Dreijer Anderson has made a name of herself in the independent music world with The Knife, and has actually become an icon of sorts for the electro scene. Now she is turning the tables a bit with this spooky, ghostly, sparse, but ultimately delectable and truly beautiful offering. That is what makes Fever Ray such a shocking surprise. I don’t think anyone was expecting something so slow and introverted as this. That doesn’t render it any less interesting though, and this is one of the best albums of the year so far.



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user ratings (362)
Chart.
4
excellent
other reviews of this album
Justin Swope (4)
Fever Ray is a record that skulks about the shadows, implementing a slow boil within its detailed so...

Mark M. (4.5)
A very original work by Karin Dreijer Anderson that has a signature sound that keeps you coming back...

recommended by reviewer
The Knife Silent Shout

Comments:Add a Comment 
Kiran
Emeritus
April 4th 2009


6002 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I love The Knife so I'll probably check this out.

jeremologyy
April 4th 2009


275 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yeah. It's different than the Knife, but it's stiller Karin Dreijer Anderson, and she's a fantastic musical persona. So fans of the Knife SHOULD check this out, they should just be prepared for an album that consists mostly of something slightly or majorly different than the Knife.

Mikesn
Emeritus
April 4th 2009


3709 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Great review. I've had this for awhile, but I kind of forgot about it.

samarahah
April 13th 2009


9 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I thoroughly enjoy this.

Donkey
April 28th 2009


152 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

It's growing on me fast.

Kiran
Emeritus
May 9th 2009


6002 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great, great album.

Drix
May 9th 2009


7 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Love the album and the remix EP's from it are great as well. Saw her live a few months ago and it was her first ever concert. Haunting and fantastic..

jeremologyy
July 18th 2009


275 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Was she good live? I'd love to see that.

thebhoy
Emeritus
November 26th 2009


4461 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this is shmexy

StreetlightRock
Emeritus
January 13th 2010


3781 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Massive digs on this recently.

Vietnamienne
June 29th 2010


5 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I don't know why I keep gravitating towards music that kind of terrifies me. "If I Had A Heart" made me a little sick the first few times I heard it. In a good way, though. Kind of like "I shouldn't like this but I really do." Every track on this album is great but my standouts are: If I Had A Heart, Concrete Walls, Now's The Only Time I Know, and I'm Not Done.

StreetlightRock
Emeritus
October 14th 2010


3781 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Her cover of Mercy Seat is the best thing she's ever done:

http://www.myspace.com/feverray

first song on the player

scissorlocked
January 4th 2011


3511 Comments


this is pleasantly smooth

great album

Digging: Low Roar - Low Roar

ifloatwithchino
January 5th 2011


53 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

amazing debut.
haunting yet beautiful in so many ways.

cbmartinez
January 5th 2011


2525 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

album is incredible, one of the best of last year, last three songs just blow me away

WashboardSuds
January 6th 2011


5043 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Silent Shout blew my expectations out of the water, I love the newer stuff by The Knife, so I'm definately checking this album out. Love her voice

Digging: Zodiac (VASE) - Zodiac

WeepingBanana
January 19th 2011


10217 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

lol this album is so creepy. i love it

WashboardSuds
February 24th 2011


5043 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

album is the absolute shit. Karin's voice never gets old honestly

darnielle
May 13th 2011


221 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Better than sex, mark

Nostigex
December 2nd 2011


3 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This album was made to be listened to high... seriously, this blows my mind.



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