Just finished my fourth listen through to Fever Ray’s self titled new album, it’s quickly becoming my “go-to” album in my ever expanding Itunes playlist universe. Fever Ray is the solo project of The Knife’s Karin Dreijer Andersson. For those of you who aren’t familiar with The Knife, they have been making outstanding electronic music out of Sweden for quite a while, like nothing else you have ever heard. They are probably most famous for the song “Heartbeats”, which is utterly amazing, and was covered quite well by Jose Gonzalez a few years back.
Your ears may actually be at a slight advantage to evaluate Fever Ray for the first time if you’ve never heard The Knife. Fans of The Knife will immediately recognize a difference here. Some complain about that, to those I ask “What is the point of a solo or side project if it sounds exactly the same as the original band?”
I’m going to avoid comparisons to the Knife in this review, you can find plenty of those elsewhere in the blogosphere. Instead I’m going to try to attempt the impossible – to describe what this music is and how it makes you feel.
This album creeps up on you, grabs you with black fingernails, and holds on until you forget what you were doing or where you are. Try to think back to the first time you listened to Radiohead’s post-The Bends work, that’s really the only way I can think to describe the feeling you get from this album. Not warm and fuzzy, more cold and tingly. Think of the first time you went into that room at the Museum of Science in Boston with the giant silver ball and the lightning bolts – the way you could smell the electricity in the air – it kind of creeps you out, but intrigues you to no end at the same time – especially if you were a little kid. You want to touch it but you know you probably shouldn’t.
The album also has a drive and feel similar to something you may have obsessed over in the 80s – Kate Bush, Peter Gabriel, Depeche Mode, but with modern day touches. Fever Ray is able to accomplish this drive without the heavy bass lines many of us have come to know and love – a refreshing and inspiring change. As always, Karen’s voice is amazing – a few years back a younger, much more prolific Giant Panther described her as ballsy like Cyndi Lauper – not in a girls just wanna have fun way – in the no reservations sing your ass off way.
Highly recommended and two giant panther thumbs up. Pick up the Fever Ray album, put on some old school giant headphones, turn down the lights, and prepare to do some exploring.