music review : Fever Ray – Fever Ray

reviewed by : Paul Morin

released by : Mute on 24 March 2009
data : 1st album . 10 tracks . 48:11 run time .
digital download available now
genre : experimental, ambient, electronic

Fever Ray is the self-titled solo project of Karin Dreijer Andersson. Andersson is also half of the band, The Knife.  Fever Ray features a lot of the same textures as The Knife.  Present again is Andersson’s natural pixie voice, inviting comparisons to Bjork or Siouxsie Sioux.  The vocals  are pitch-shifted vocals and move from quiet and brittle to cavernous and sinister.  Also present are the subtle minimalist programming techniques used on The Knife’s Silent Shout.  Where Fever Ray really differs, is where it favors a more subdued ambient approach rather than the kinetic energy of The Knife.  Each song takes on a quality of incantation or prayer with the narrator alternating from vulnerable and lost to confident and strong; innocence to experience in both lyrics and composition.  Despite favoring simple orchestration, often only relying on a few electronic rhythmic sounds and voice, the music has a depth and complexity to it that rewards the listener in repeated listens.  Movement is governed more by mood than structure, dropping the usual verse-chorus-verse-chorus songwriting method for templates that create themselves as the songs progress. Andersson’s lyrics, while puzzling and obscure, are full of a rich ambiguity that allows the imagination to wander the corridors searching for answers.  The music itself seems to have both familiar elements and completely foreign sounds. At one moment, the album sounds like a soundtrack to an obscure Japanese romance, while the next moment it sounds like a twisted nursery rhyme.  The result is a long, extended reflection through surreal turns with moments of both sublime beauty and dark foreboding.  Highly recommended.

recommended tracks : If I Had a Heart, Coconut, Concrete Walls
if you like you may like : Bjork, The Knife, Delerium
grade : overall 9 – music 9 – lyrics 9 . recording quality 10

from the February Issue of Auxiliary Magazine

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