Review: Fever Ray “Fever Ray”

Fever Ray

Upon watching the 2006 live concert for The Knife: “Silent Shout: An Audio Visual Experience,” I thought of only two things:

A: Is my brain melting?
B: I didn’t realize that it was just the woman making all those creepy voices at the same time she was singing

The former was reconciled with a good night’s rest. However, I had become addicted to what the second question had in store for me. That voice belonged to 1/2 of the brother/sister duo (The Knife) known as Dreijer Andersson…that’s the sister for those of you who aren’t familiar with those crazy Swiss names that get slapped on to their young.

Since that evening I found out two things: The Knife is currently on hiatus (sad), and that Dreijer planned on releasing a solo effort under the title of Fever Ray.

Well, Fever Ray finally gets a proper physical release this week (it’s been available online since January.) So, what happens when Dreijer is let loose on her own?

The album opens up with the possibly alienating “If I Had A Heart.” Well seasoned fans of The Knife will easily be able to accept this song, because it’s as minimalist and creepy-voiced as some of The Knife’s more familiar tracks. But I speak through experience when I say that those new to this type of music will easily be turned off already.

……….

Well, to be honest with you, the whole style of the album is best described as minimalist. Tracks like “Keep The Streets Empty for Me” and “Concrete Walls” are prime examples of the this. But, they work well to keep the mood intact.

That said, there are some great musical tracks on here, that flex Dreijer’s voice and show that she plays her equal part in some of The Knife’s great song structure. “Dry and Dusty,” “I’m Not Done,” and the album’s closer “Coconut” showcase Dreijer’s talent. And that’s pretty much the point of a solo album right?

The truth is, this album is best compared to another great solo project, Thom Yorke’s The Eraser. Both albums let the artist stretch their legs out a bit. But, what they ultimately end up as are sort of snacks between meals. Since the release of Radiohead’s In Rainbows how often have I gone back to The Eraser?

I haven’t.

And that’s how I feel about Fever Ray. It’s doing a great job in filling that gap that time has made since The Knife’s superb 2006 cut Silent Shout. But, when that next serving of The Knife comes around, I see myself slipping Fever Ray into a label-less tupperware, and pushing it to the back of the fridge.

-Chase

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9 responses to “Review: Fever Ray “Fever Ray”

  1. silenceinarchitecture

    Personally, I think this is much stronger than “The Eraser”. Perfectly sustained mood. It’s probably helped that I’ve been in a bad mood lately. I kind of wonder if this will be like Portishead’s “Third” was for me last year: placed in storage during the warm months and pulled back out as soon as fall hits.

  2. Yeah, I agree with your seasonal assessment, despite the fact that there is no fucking winter in L.A.

    I like the album, but I’ve had it for more than 2 months now, and it has already slipped way down in my rotation.

  3. i think when the knife releases a new album i’ll be simultaneously shoving it, silent shout, and fever ray square up my ass so that i can absorb every wonderful nutrient they have to offer…..i guess i could eat them, but…..i’m just saying i really love them all….including the new knife album that’s probably not even in the works yet

  4. side note: “morning, keep the streets empty for me” — when i’m up at 5 a.m. drinking and pitying myself that line reroutes the neurological pathways in my brain causing me to become instantly addicted to anything that woman writes

  5. i totally agree. esp the part about the solo projects being like snacks between meals. i don’t think i can name one solo project that has been better than the collective on the top of my head…

    personally, i think the eraser is much stronger than fever ray. and like aaron said, i like it all, but i don’t know if i’d go as far as shoving them all up my ass…though that would be a faster route for nutrient absorption as opposed to gastrointestinal digestion…haha

  6. I don’t know if I buy the minimalist sound. On first listen, I thought the same thing, but when I put headphones on for the second rotation there are so many parts that are interwoven into this thing. I think that is part of the charm for me is that it is deceptively simple, and I would credit most of that to the slow tempo and low pitched drones. Even “Concrete Walls” is layered with a wide assortment of sounds, albeit most are random flickers for a couple of measures before fading into the vocal and synth swells.

    As far as solo projects go, it depends on your definition. Are groups like Broken Social Scene and New Pornographers considered a “band” or a conglomeration of solo artists. If it is the former, then I there are several “solo albums” I enjoy just as much if not more. Also, Panda Bear’s “Person Pitch” is damn good.

  7. You make a good argument, Bryant.

    I do agree that this album does have a good amount of layers to it, most of which are very subtle. But for me, the landscape the album lays before you is still sonically minimalist (wow, that sounds really pretentious, but that is the best way I can think of to defend my statements).

    Take for example the excellent Burial album that came out late 2007, “Untrue.” It is riddled with little hooks, bleeps, noises, and synth reverbs. However, when looking at the album as a whole, I would say that it is a minimalist sound. That was my mindset in regards to the Fever Ray album.

    Secondly, yes I do believe that it depends on your definition. BSS and New Porns to me are “supergroups.”

    Yeah, “Person Pitch” is an great record, however with Animal Collective’s “Strawberry Jam” and now “Merriwether Post Pavilion,” I just never go back to it. Especially the dreamy-pop sound that “Person Pitch” had is all over “MPP.”

    Albeit, “Bros” and “Take Pills” still haunt my brain to this day.

  8. her name is actually karin dreijer andersson.

  9. I just spun Panda Bear’s “Person Pitch” for the first time in a long time.

    Shame on me for putting this one aside in light of Animal Collective’s recent efforts. It is still a fantastic record

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