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Reviews
Fever Ray - S/T
Monday, June 15 2009 @ 03:00 AM PDT
Contributed by: Blond Adonis

Self Titled

Artist: Fever Ray Sweden

Title: Self Titled

Label: Mute Records United Kingdom

Genre:  Electronic/ Experimental Space Pop

Track Listing:

01 If I Had a Heart
02 When I Grow Up
03 Dry and Dusty
04 Seven
05 Triangle Walks
06 Concrete Walls
07 Now’s the Only Time I Know
08 I’m Not Done
09 Keep the Streets Empty For Me
10 Coconut
   

Fever Ray is the side project of Karin Dreijer Andersson, who, in her regular guise, is half of the Swedish experimental-pop duo The Knife and who used to be the singer for the pop group of 15 or so years ago, Honey is Cool.

Andersson’s Fever Ray project is a self-titled CD that is a lush, electronic machines mixing it up, side by side with real instruments, as well as Karin’s smooth, silky voice that rides the wave of the sometimes Gary Numan-esque keyboard laden backdrops, or vivid, bright Eno musical images; but the disc is not limited to any one style or sound, that’s for sure.  For some strange reason, maybe it’s a language barrier thing, but on Fever Ray’s MySpace page, the music is described as “Black Metal/Folk/Electroacoustic”.  Now while I find the latter descriptive to be apt, nowhere on this CD is there even a hint of any “black metal” and as for “folk”, well, it’s not the folk music you’d hear played by old coffeeshop folkies wearing skinny sundresses or jeans and boots, strumming bad solo acoustic songs; no, I think the “folk” Fever Ray refers to is more of an ethnic folk influence:  sounds and/or instrumentation from Scandinavian culture that helped shape some of the music; I mean, you won’t get this confused with Bob Dylan or Joan Baez    

What’s most compelling are the haunting, but brilliantly enthralling melodies that emanate from this CD.  Not knowing what to expect at first, it has, at first, an uncertainty to it, which is the hang-up of the listener, not the fault of the artist.  But once you give it a couple listens you see that it’s a consistent but not persistent CD.

Fever Ray is the first major musical accomplishment that Andersson has made since her last gig with The Knife - she had a baby, her second, took some time off to adjust to that new part of her life and after almost a year of taking care of the baby and the domestic stuff that goes with that, she also began getting restless, starting to let her mind wander and soon she was writing, thinking up new ways to stun and what not, then with some help from Christopher Berg and Van Rivers, she has put out this, her latest labor of love, the self titled Fever Ray.

The songs each linger by in a dreamy, cloudlike way, each one melting into the next, but there’s no “drifting” here:  all the parts are in the right place, sonically, making for one beautiful, long listen that is, at times toe-tapping and catchy, like “If I Had a Heart”, “When I Grow Up” (which reminds one, a little, of Robin Fraser of Cocteau Twins) or “Seven” and at other times the music gets more subdued and reflective - “Concrete Walls” and “I’m Not Done” to the downright entrancing, as in the last two cuts, “Keep the Streets Empty for Me” and “Coconut&rdquo

Besides Robin Fraser, Karin Andersson also, with her strong and, at times, forceful voice, also is not unlike those of Sinead O’Connor or Siouxsee Sioux; not necessarily reflective of their styles of music, but their voice abilities.  Just don’t be turned off or away by their (mistaken?) self-description of themselves as being “black metal” (??) I don’t know where that idea came from but it is not at all evident on this CD at all.  It’s all filled up with lulling, nebulous atmospherics and very pretty too.

     



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