Of Spider Webs, Cucumber Slices and other Dishwasher Topics
WW85 | New York, NY United States | 03/24/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I don't think of myself as someone who gravitates towards electronic music. Maybe Fever Ray aroused some part of my brain that has been inactive since the 80's. Maybe I listened to too much beard rock last year and needed an intervention. Whatever it is, this album is ADDICTIVE.
It may or may not appeal to fans of The Knife. It might be too chill for them, but that might be fine for the rest of us. For those that don't know, Fever Ray is Karin Dreijer Andersson's solo project away from The Knife, the band she created with her brother. Their last album was a big hit in some circles. She famously talked about retiring after it came out.
This album is here to show she didn't, and in a pretty spectacular way. From her web site-
--Thus `I'm Not Done', one of Fever Ray's more upbeat moments, only reveals its true meaning in its title, a gesture of defiance against Karin's own thoughts of retirement. "That was the last song I wrote and in contrast to many tracks that are more about anxiety and depression, that one is very full of life," she says. "Sometimes, when you're as old as I am now, you think you're going to quit, and people around you think you're going to quit. But then you have days when you realise how good music can be, there's so much left to explore and so much left to do. That's why I sometimes feel I'll never quit."--
But `I'm Not Done', -though one of the finest- is not the last song on the album. Two that were probably written out of the anxiety and depression she describes follow it, and they bring the album to a breathtaking close.
Music videos of the albums first two songs can be easily found online. They are works of art unto themselves. As good as they are, and as good as the songs themselves are, they just scratch the surface of the depth and enjoyment that listening to the entire album brings. Along with albums like Fleet Foxes eponymous debut last year, and Grizzly Bear's Veckatimest coming in May, Fever Ray seems to be in on what might just be the beginning of a trend; The return of the essential complete album. The album that's too good to just download a song or two, but one where you want to own the whole thing. One you want to hold in your hands and read the liner notes while it's playing on your stereo. "
Strange, dark, catchy, beautiful, etc.
Bryan Moore | Jonesboro, AR United States | 02/04/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It could be that I'll read this review a year from now and say, "Wow, I really liked that record back then, but in hindsight it's nothing all that special, certainly not worthy of five stars." But I doubt it. This really does strike me as a special record. I've been listening to it repeatedly for many days; in fact, I can listen to little else. I like The Knife's Silent Shout a lot, but I think I like this one, Karin's solo project, even better. What's strange is, I can't say I even "like" her voice. I'm not sure I'm supposed to like it, the way I may like Mary Blige's voice, or Britt Daniel's. If Karin's voice were "pretty" or "strong" or whatever, I don't know if it would be as effective. As it is, its cold roughness is the perfect conveyer of these starkly beautiful--and catchy--songs. (In a just world, "Seven" would be a monster international hit.) And they are songs: I think any number of talented singer-guitarists could play some or all them solo and make them work just fine. But much of this is dance music, and the beats, so inventive, are half the fun. The synthesizer sound is another big part of the fun, though I hear an electric guitar here and there, maybe some acoustic percussion. (A real bass in some spots? Hard to know.) This is a little less electronic than The Knife, but not much.
Start with a hooky New Order--or perhaps more accurately Kraftwerk--synthesized riff, add nuanced but minimalistic ornaments, throw in a good bit of Bjorkian vocals (and, of course, digitally-altered Knifean ones--does Olaf appear here and there? it's hard to tell), mix in some dark, N. Europe starkness and Bergmanesque, existentialist gloom, a little dash of free-floating expressionism in the lyrics, and you get--can I spell this?--Karin Dreijer Andersson's Fever Ray. This is not everyone's cup of tea, to be sure. My ma wouldn't like it. But most pop music lovers--rather alt rock lovers (but why conform to THE MAN'S narrow categories?)--if they are patient, will like this music immensely. Fever Ray will doubtless be huge in Europe, if they aren't already, but they could--defintitely SHOULD--be huge in the U.S. as well. This is great stuff, despite my anticipated future jadedness, and if you are at all curious, and for sure if you are anything of a fan of The Knife (or Bjork or Kraftwerk or New Order or Aphex Twin or etc.), I cannot recommend this more strongly."
Not fond of electronic music
Mark A. Cartier | Portland, Or. USA | 07/10/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I'm not fond of electronic music. I'm a classic rock person for the most part (although also a lover of jazz and the blues).
I'm walking through a record store and this is playing. By the third song, I'm asking the help who it is. I buy it. I take it home. I listen. I listen again.
It is addicting. Utterly pleasurable. Different. Worth your money if you are open minded about your music."
Symbol Interface | New York, NY USA | 04/06/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A stunning album. I like the Knife, but I love Fever Ray. Karin Dreijer Andersson's vision is clear and powerful and challenging. The album is a cohesive work of art, rather than a collection of songs. Highly recommended."
She's Not Done...
squarehawk2 | Wisconsin | 03/27/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Karin Dreijer Anderssen gives us electro not for dancing, but rather sleep walking. Fever Ray has no pounding rhythms to be felt nor synth stabs rushing thru the speakers. Just a tapestry of echo beats and keyboard washes that backdrops a narration of surreal daydreams. Some will site this a "Knife-lite" record, a stretching out of Silent Shout's quieter moments, but there is more to this record than a missing brother. It's an album that exists on more songwriting than production qualities, and it should be heard fully instead of being cherry picked at for singles. For me, listening to these songs is like watching a exotic insect crawl across your floor; time consuming but none the less oddly fascinating.
As a whole, Fever Ray is a lonely affair, complete with both moments of desperation, contempt and hopefulness entwined. Vocal styling is similar to other Knife work, but the musical arrangements and lyrics are thoughtfully done enough to separate this material from the previous. First track is a somber declaration of wanting more, while being denied basic needs. The following "When I Grow Up" proves to be the accessible pop track, but the lyrics calm any Club urges by their depiction of daily restlessness. Most remaining songs continue in a paced manner, but each feel genuine with individual flourishes, like "Triangle Walk" with its chiming rhythms or "Keep The Streets Empty.." whose pan pipes imagine a ghost town. Even "Concrete Walls" evokes the a 3 a.m. paranoia with it's "Teardrop" beat and crawling voices. The mood does lighten here and there, but the album never becomes silly as the work is of a mature nature.
In the end, Fever Ray turns out to have been born out of the Knife, but it is an effort that demands to be taken in on it's own merit. And because of that it is rewarding.
For those interested, the other half of the Knife, Oolf Deijer, will be releasing his album for the fall of 2009."