Thursday, March 19, 2009

fever ray by fever ray

Other than the one at Disneyland (which all good children of the Southern California sunshine are wont to experience), I really don’t like haunted houses. No doubt some traumatic, long since repressed memory from childhood.

I listen to Swedish electro-goth group The Knife in roughly the same emotional space – other than tempting fate to put it on late at night when I’m home alone (because no one is ever hacked to pieces while rocking out to twee), I really can’t find a place for it in my daily audio diet. Needless to say I popped Fever Ray, (out in hard form 3/24) debut solo album from Knife lead-woman Karin Dreijer Andersson, into the player with extreme caution: lights on, doors dead bolted, sun still high in the sky. You know, I think the truly sad part of this whole entry is that while a certain amount of hyperbole goes on around these parts ( I will neither confirm nor deny specifics), this is not far from the truth.

Let me be the first to give Fever Ray the wimp’s seal of approval. Now there's a blurb that's sure to sell records.

Birthed from a period of post-natal exhaustion, Fever Ray is weirdly sentimental, one of the elements that saves the project from being a The Knife retread. Andersson has jettisoned the hyper-political stance of her main band, trading it for quiet fairy tales and the landscapes of an exhausted daydream -- along the way stripping down the trademark electro-goth sound without diminishing any of its trademark creep factor. Instead of leaping on you, fangs bared, it's more likely to sneak around the corner, teasing your subconscious with melancholic visions of your own childhood ("Seven") or the potential of a night spent wandering in the empty streets (predictably, "Keep The Streets Empty").

While the sound has been considerably lightened, most notable is the change in vocal styles. While opening track "If I Had a Heart" utilizes The Knife's tradmark Lurch-style voice filtration, Andersson's affected voice -- part Bjork, part Tegan Quinn, is often left bare, startling against the inorganic instrumental backdrop. This girl can sing -- and she's out to prove it.

If this isn't the most fantastically atmospheric album you've listened to all year...well let me know where this stuff is being hidden. No really! Now if you pardon me, I'm going to go check my locks.

mp3: "When I Grow Up (D Lissvik remix)" by Fever Ray

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