Karin Dreijer Andersson (she being one half of the Swedish electronic pair, The Knife) released her debut solo album under the banner of Fever Ray last month to a fanfare of critical applause. This was seen as quite a strange move for someone who has gone to such lengths to stay out of the limelight and generally remain as anonymous as possible. Afterall, a solo sidestep from a band usually offers a more personal take on all things.
So, gone are the signature beats of her electronic roots, instead replaced by drones and synthetic ambient sounds. An undercurrent of menace pervades from start to finish that’s genuinely unsettling at times. The opening track, “If I Had A Heart” sets the scene beautifully as it hums and warbles along to lyrics disguised by deep, hollow voice-manipulations. Words slosh in and out of the mix of ambience, accent and vocal gymnastics. Pieces of images appearing out of the dense fog of the eerie, atmospheric soundscapes. There’s also something so very claustrophobic about this album. This claustrophobia never lets up throughout it’s 48 minute lifespan, wherein the pacing remains even and pretty steadfast: without the ‘fast’. What we have here is slow, opaque and strangely calming at times. Less dancey than The Knife and lot more synthy 80’s, like The Cure or Echo and The Bunnymen.
On a side note: The coverart (seen above) looks to be created by Charles Burns. If you havent read Black Hole, I suggest you do. David Fincher is adapting it into a moving picture.
Fever Ray – If I Had A Heart:
Fever Ray – When I Grow Up:
Fever Ray Linkety Links: Wikipedia / MySpace