Fever Ray
Plunge


4.0
excellent

Review

by hesperus CONTRIBUTOR (19 Reviews)
October 27th, 2017 | 246 replies


Release Date: 2017 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Destroy nuclear, destroy boring.

The last time Karin Dreijer Andersson recorded solo material under her Fever Ray moniker was a couple years removed from the release of Silent Shout, her most recent album with The Knife. She had just given birth to her second child, and was struggling with post-partum depression. Those personal and artistic circumstances led her to craft Fever Ray, one of the most hauntingly gorgeous albums in recent memory. She borrowed aesthetic and thematic elements from the dark but still frequently danceable electronica of Silent Shout and placed them in a more intimate context that perfectly captured the emotional root of her experiences.

That was eight years ago. The Knife is now defunct, and before disbanding they had evolved far beyond Silent Shout, exploring more experimental territories on Tomorrow, In a Year and Shaking the Habitual. The duo also became more unabashedly political on the latter album, exploring issues of gender and sexuality, economic inequality, and the nuclear family unit. So while on her sophomore solo album, Plunge, Fever Ray again borrows elements from the most recent album by The Knife and recontextualizes them, it makes sense that the end result would be strikingly different from her debut.

Both sonically and thematically, Plunge resembles Shaking the Habitual more than Fever Ray, taking several pages from the former’s experiments in the dissonant and percussive and continuing its examination of gender and sexual themes. Whereas Fever Ray transformed the catchiness of Silent Shout into something more subtle and tranquil, Plunge recontextualizes Shaking the Habitual by condensing that heady, oft-droning behemoth of an album down to something much more visceral and immediate. Thus, most of the tracks on Plunge are simultaneously catchy and abrasive, from the sirens and handclaps of “Wanna Sip,” to the frantic drums of “IDK About You,” to the discordant synths and static hisses of “This Country,” to the orchestra hits and distorted vocals of “An Itch.”

This straightforward approach allows each song to cut straight to the emotional core of the sexual themes that the lyrics explore. “Falling” embodies the shameful feelings that queer desire can elicit in a heteronormative world, crying, “She’s making me feel dirty again.” “This Country” flashes the societal taboos that surround sexuality a defiant sneer, asserting, “That’s not how to love me.” “To the Moon and Back” is downright gleeful in the explicit desires it expresses: “I want to ram my fingers up your pussy.” Here, Andersson abandons the borderline academic lyrical tone of Shaking the Habitual's “Full of Fire” and finds the personal in the political.

Yet, as successful as these bold, assertive songs are (and they are), Fever Ray’s greatest talent still lies in more subdued tracks like “Mustn’t Hurry” and “Mama’s Hand,” which contain enough negative space to allow beautiful nuances to truly blossom. “Red Trails” steps back to permit a trembling violin to take center stage, resulting in one of the best tracks of Andersson’s career. Had the entire album been made up of tracks like these, it might have been even better than its predecessor. But clearly, Fever Ray isn’t interested in simply replicating the sound of her debut, and honestly, that’s great. Her desire to evolve and expand to new frontiers has still yielded a daring, enthralling album, and her career will likely continue to surprise and excite us for years to come.



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user ratings (112)
Chart.
3.5
great
other reviews of this album
butcherboy CONTRIBUTOR (4)
Morfin och Kärleksbrev.....

related reviews

Fever Ray


Comments:Add a Comment 
Papa Universe
October 27th 2017


8785 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

Oh damn, Dean VS. Butch, who's gonna get a feature?

Digging: Gattopardo - Gattopardo

Conmaniac
Contributing Reviewer
October 27th 2017


20127 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

really great job contextualizing this album with her previous work, as someone thats only heard Shaking the Habitual and her s/t this was a rly helpful review. nice work (:

butcherboy
Contributing Reviewer
October 27th 2017


5977 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

dun dun!!!



great write-up, Dean!!

JigglyPDiddy
October 27th 2017


3237 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

AOTY

Digging: Ondatropica - Ondatropica

DoofusWainwright
Contributing Reviewer
October 27th 2017


17095 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Some top class clunge here

DoofusWainwright
Contributing Reviewer
October 27th 2017


17095 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Why is Cersei Lannister on the cover art?

Chortles
October 27th 2017


20895 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

two excellent reviews for this beauty

Digging: Burger / Ink - Las Vegas

jtswope
October 27th 2017


5686 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Idk guys. This is alright, but it ain't wowing me like the incredible s/t. Second half is where my favorites are on here. I feel like this takes a little while to get going and there are some underwhelming moments throughout, but when it really hits the mark it's good as expected.



Both reviews are solid agreed.

Chortles
October 27th 2017


20895 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

dunno, this is kind of exactly what i wanted to hear from her at this point. hope it grows on you and the others it's been lukewarm for

jtswope
October 27th 2017


5686 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Same dude, we'll see. I've jammed it like six times, but I'll come back to it in a few days. Karin is a goddess so I owe her that much.

Ryus
October 27th 2017


15703 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this FUCKING BANGS

Digging: DJ Richard - Path of Ruin

hamid95
October 28th 2017


492 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Might bump this even higher - can't get these amazing songs out of my head. Really loving the amalgamation of influences, both from Karin's own career and the contributing producers. Vintage FR, vintage Knife, zany, dancy dub and club mixes, some hard industrial stuff and a whole lotta kink.

Talk about fulfilling some sky-high expectations.

Ryus
October 28th 2017


15703 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

doesn't eclipse the debut but that's not really a fair criticism since i've heard this thrice and the debut like 15 times

Arcade
Staff Reviewer
October 29th 2017


8499 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i don't really like her debut tbqh but this is pretty wonderful

Digging: Godflesh - Post Self

DoofusWainwright
Contributing Reviewer
October 29th 2017


17095 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Debut is more consistent, the second half of this release is top tier 'Silent Shout' quality though

hesperus
Contributing Reviewer
October 29th 2017


943 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

A+ avatar doof

DoofusWainwright
Contributing Reviewer
October 29th 2017


17095 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Some of my finest work hesperus

Conmaniac
Contributing Reviewer
October 29th 2017


20127 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

haha yeah that av is good shit

this album underwhelmed me quality wise and overwhelmed me at certain points hahaha

zakalwe
October 29th 2017


23718 Comments


Bloody Doof with his classic avs.
I’d have probabaly stuck it on Myra Hindley cos of the hair.
Album is alright.

Digging: Swarms - Black Chapel Sun

Evokaphile
October 29th 2017


6484 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This is so good

Digging: Less Art - Strangled Light



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