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Fever Ray
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"After 2006's Silent Shout's many year-end accolades the brother-sister duo of Karin Dreijer Andersson and Olof Dreijer decided to put The Knife on hiatus. Karin's self-titled debut as Fever Ray retains the creepy funhouse mirror production of Shout but dials up her imagist lyrics and stark arrangements. Eight months of production gives us a new batch of synthpop tracks grounded by more traditional instrumentation (guitar, congas, steel drums). On Fever Ray's website Karin calls the austere, yet personal debut, a waking fantasy. “Half of what the songs are about is the subconscious,” Karin notes, “ideas of things happening. A lot of it is like daydreaming, dreaming when you’re awake, but tired; a lot of stories come from that world."
-- Kyle Lemmon,, 01/09

 Fever Ray Discography - Album / CD Reviews

***½ 2009: Fever Ray audio

Sustaining a remarkable degree of structural tension over the course of its brief song cycle, Fever Ray, the first solo outing from Karin Dreijer Andersson, is an album built upon contrasts. Most notably, Andersson's Fever Ray persona draws attention to her work as half of the Knife, whose Silent Shout is among the most acclaimed albums in recent memory. Whereas the Knife is ostensibly a dance act, Fever Ray emphasizes tone over rhythm. Even when the tempo picks up on Now's the Only Time I Know and standout Seven, the delicacy of the instrumentation, particularly the mallet percussion on the former, strips away the ominous, rumbling basslines that propelled Silent Shout forward, and the arrhythmic structures slither around a 4/4 meter rather than embracing a time signature that lends itself to dance. Instead, the focus here is on Andersson's oblique narratives and the startling, stark electronic distortions she uses on her vocal tracks. These dramatic, often inhuman-sounding shifts in range only heighten the palpable sense of dread on the Knife's macabre songs, but here the same production trick serves a different but no less effective purpose: to draw attention to the minimalism and surprising pop bent of the songs. With its refrain of "Give me more/Give me more/Give me more," spectacular lead single If I Had a Heart is written as a straightforward pop song about romantic longing. What gives the song its complexity is the way Andersson's vocal is pushed into a grim baritone range that works with the equally distorted, bottomed-out melodic line that turns the song's refrain ("If I had a voice I would sing") into an fascinating bit of self-reflection. From its opening notes, the album proves that Andersson and her producers (Christopher Berg, who has mixed much of the Knife's output, and the duo Van Rivers & the Subliminal Kid) understand how to use these choices to define a distinct, purposeful aesthetic, rather than simply using them as a gimmick.
-- Jonathan Keefe,

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