Fever Ray - Fever Ray (2009)

Fever Ray is not from our solar system. Karin Dreijer Andersson is an alien with a predilection for ominous electronic music. One half of Swedish duo The Knife, she engages in vocal gymnastics that can only be gawked at. Her voice is shrill and part of that constellation whose stars include Bjork and Kate Bush.

She’s a tuneful extra terrestrial looking for companionship. These inhuman impressions are only enhanced by opening lyrics “If I had a heart, I could love you”. Keyboards are spooky, drum machines are hauntingly nuanced.

In “Dry and Dusty” she observes that “your hand, my hand, fits so easily”, as though she’s a celestial organism grasping another’s hand for the first time. “Concrete Walls” instils an unsettling claustrophobia, “I live between concrete walls”. Percussion loops in a downtempo fashion, while keyboards resonate hypnotically in the chorus.

In “I’m Not Done” drum machines clack and otherworldly synthesisers ring. “Keep the Streets Empty For Me” invokes a fear of crowds: enochlophobia. Karin sings the title over and over backed by a tense drumbeat. There’s a spacious atmosphere, instruments are employed sparingly.

Her debut record is unhurriedly paced and insular. It’s the soundtrack to an eye-opening journey through a ghostly galaxy.

A welcome abduction.


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