Review Summary: Morfin och Kärleksbrev..
For a little ol’ thing, vaporous and comely, seemingly carved from anemic porcelain, Karin Dreijer, better known as Fever Ray cuts an imposing figure on the music scene and in her niche. Snaking and skittering onto the scene at the turn of the century with electro-pop act The Knife, the songstress quickly gained all the critical acclaim and musical regard an artist with scope and a skill set should, esteem that reached pressing peaks when her solo project, the viscous, stunning Fever Ray came around. The self-titled debut came and went, leaving listeners in wait of where Dreijer would set her third eye crosshairs next. Now through eight years and The Knife reuniting and busting up again, she announced the release of Fever Ray’s long-anticipated second, unceremoniously dropped the day after the press release. The album Plunge
comes coated in both expectancy and anxiety, a pinched conjecture as to whether it can fill its own shoes.
came over the listener like an oil slick, dense and refractive and dizzyingly reeling. There’s decidedly brighter tracts being mined on Plunge
. Fizzy synths cut open its moving parts, letting light in. The doped-up, sensuous dub percussion that gave her debut a patiently erotic slant is inflated here, and while the songs rarely climb out of their low mid-tempo drawl, they seem faster, bigger somehow. In a way, it almost feels like a dimensional choice. That slow, woozy fetish of Fever Ray
gave it great scope of width, extending itself endlessly, slithering over you, stifling and muddy and sublime. Plunge
lunges forward, stretching itself length-wise more than anything. It still boasts both the jittery, roiling arrangements and Dreijer’s multifaceted, multi-tracked tonal work-outs. But if Fever Ray
felt a celluloid pursuit through ebon moodscapes, what Plunge
is at its heart, is a regal pop record.
Which isn’t to say the content is lacking. Lead single “To the Moon and Back” is busy like an insect nest, scattershot art drums, pitchy reverberant synths and Dreijer’s lush vox propelling it straight to your pleasure cortex. “Mustn’t Hurry” and “An Itch” are all swaying buzz-saws, and closer “Mama’s Hand” is five unadulterated minutes of building beauty that echoes around the skull long after it runs out. Song for song, everything is brought together nicely here; afro-dub, RnB, ice-capped post-punk and electro-pop fusing into highly intelligent bursts of sinewy soul.
does fall short is in its adhesive properties. For a record that doesn’t feel like it holds a phoned-in or wasted second, it doesn’t manage to assemble itself into the eminent presence Fever Ray
was, doesn’t plait itself into something that feels grander than the sum of its elemental underlings. It’s a strong album from an artist with vision and due confidence and a set of deft crafting hands. But it isn’t quite a moment, isn’t a looming wraith, it simply isn’t as good. Hopefully, she doesn’t take so long to forge a third coming. A modern classic or not, Fever Ray’s presence on the scene still feels as vital, singular and necessary as ever.