Music Review: Fever Ray – Fever Ray (2009)

When The Knife announced in 2006 that they would be going on a three year hiatus for Olaf Dreijer to resume work on his Coolof side project, it came as a dissapointment to fans of dark electrpop everywhere.  After all, The Knife had just put out their most successful release to date, Silent Shout, which won all six of the Grammis (the Sweedish equivelant of the Grammy Awards) it was nominated for, including Album of the Year and Artist of the Year, and was called Album of the Year by the highly influential music website Pitchfork Media.

Well, the three years is about up, but it’s not The Knife that’s recapturing the attention of those electronic fans, at least not yet.  It’s Karin Dreijer Andersson, a.k.a. Fever Ray, the sister half of The Knife.  And while brother Olaf’s solo project was the main reason given for the hiatus, it turns out that Karin’s solo project is the most worthwhile, due in large part to the fact that Fever Ray sounds almost identical to The Knife.  Olaf even appears on several tracks, making it practically indistinguishable but for the name difference and a slight decrease in the usually lush soundscapes in favor of relatively more traditional song structures.

With a more minimal sound than what Knife fans may be used to, a big question for individual listeners may be whether the occassional build ups are worth the many moments of subdued beats and verses.  This is really an unfortunate question for one to have to pose.  The situation could be compared to that of Icelandic superpowers Sigur Rós, who listeners often only listen to for “the good part”, that is, the climax of their often long and droning songs.  Of course, as any decidated Sigur Rós fan will tell you, the quiet parts are just about as good, and the same applies to Fever Ray.  While the engrossing melodic heights of Coconut and Concrete Walls are certainly the most easy portions of the album to appreciate, any who take time to unfold the many subtler beauties here will find that the climaxes are much easier to wait for.

As fans of The Knife wait anxiously for the end of the nearly complete three year hiatus, don’t be surprised if their next album makes Fever Ray look like one of those understated melodies backed by a chilly, unintrusive beat.  Take a good look at what Fever Ray has to offer, and you may find yourself getting as much out of it as any spectacle The Knife have produced.

Final Score – 9.1/10

Highlights: If I Had A Heart, Concrete Walls, Triangle Walks, Coconut

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One Response to “Music Review: Fever Ray – Fever Ray (2009)”

  1. Good blog here.

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