Wednesday, June 10, 2009


Fever Ray (Electro)
LP: Fever Ray (Mute, 2009)

It's 3 AM. You're exhausted. Sleep evades you. You toss and turn, cursing the darkness. Finally you decide to take a walk.

There's no one around. Everything is quiet and perfect. The world belongs to you.

On this sublime recording Fever Ray's Karin Dreijer Andersson transforms such isolation into art of the highest order.

Fever Ray sets a different tone to Dreijer Andersson's previous outing - as half of The Knife, the best Swedish band since ABBA. Silent Shout (2006 ), their meditation on evil dread, is an electro-pop milestone.

This time around, with a muted palette and fewer rhythmic gradations, they again breathe life into the genre by means of an artful pop minimalism.

It's a perfect example - like landmark recordings by Boards of Canada and Burial - of how electro-based music can communicate a haunting sense of isolation and claustrophobia.

Opener If I Had a Heart - a tale of obsession - has a compelling, churning riff and a spooky whispered vocal - Dreijer Andersson's pitchshifted downward - which will appeal to doom-laden romantics everywhere.

The sublime Now's the Only Time I Know celebrates the perfection of the moment, the sad reality of that which is forsaken and proclaims that all the gods and all the devils exist within us.

At first I wasn't entirely sure what Concrete Wall was about - a serial killer or life in a tower block? - but it scared the hell out of me with it's plunging keyboard lines and ominous lyric: "I live between concrete walls/When I took her up she was so warm/Eyes are open and mouth cries/Haven't slept since summer/Oh how I try/I leave the TV on/And the radio."

It turns out the song refers to Dreijer Andersson's relationship with her new born baby. The velvety S and M tone is actually the sound of a woman coming to terms with the private terror of new parenthood.

In Keep the Streets Empty For Me there is further isolation, but it's never complete and the agony gives way to hope: "I will never disappear/Forever, I'll be here."

It's somnambulistic, to be sure, but I dig it.

The ghost of Japan stalks this record sonically and subject-wise as Dreijer Andersson explores similar terrain to David Sylvian's art-pop: connection, disconnection, recollection. Again that dreamlike feeling as the world sleeps and the poets dream of angels.

In the superb Seven the profound is to be discovered as we sleep, as we speak, in the remains of the day. Seen in cold black and white, the words - "We talk about love, we talk about dishwasher tablets, illness/And we dream about heaven" - come over as trite, but in the context of the album they seem revelatory.

Fever Ray is one of those records which seems so perfect, so definitive and pure, that it effortlessly sweeps away the mundane, canceling out time and dissolving whatever boundaries exist between truth and art.

Unique and emotionally true, it's magnetic, ambitious and often profound.

Video: When I Grow Up


ヒミツ said...


Shiffi Le Soy said...

Er, yes, er.....

ヒミツ said...

i'm feeling hot now, but not yet febrile.