Fever Ray, or Karin Dreijer Andersson — better known as the sister of the brother-sister Swedish electronic duo The Knife — releases an album about as subdued as a gloomy day and about as vivid as a stagnant river. The irony is that neither is unreal or unnatural and that both do hold a certain charm.
Likewise, Andersson is magnetic and her self-titled debut — under the stage name Fever Ray — is equal parts surprise and anticipation. Her other band The Knife plays the type of electronic music normally reserved for the club scene, while her solo project plays the type of electronic music normally reserved for a college town hookah bar. On the other hand, there are moments when Fever Ray feels like The Knife, only during a wild night on peyote.
“If I Had A Heart” begins the album with a soft guitar hum that combines with Andersson’s pseudo-incantations to produce the makings of a long-gestating non-hedonistic ritual. While there is a raw, animalistic vitality that permeates much of the album, interestingly enough the energy can’t really be thought of as sexual or simple clean fun.
There is sensuality abound, of course, like with the fantasies of “When I Grow Up” or “Concrete Walls,” but the passion seems to run deeper than mere physical togetherness, with the reflecting “Dry And Dusty” instead revealing that passion as spiritual and somewhat metaphysical (“I am a capsule of energy / You speak softly / We are capsules of energy”). And yes, there’s no denying a pinch of desire and intimacy.
Fever Ray is unrelenting in her consistency. She lets the atmosphere command the shape and flow of her music, only really lending her voice to better capture bits and pieces of her frame of mind. It’s fascinating, because Andersson’s words sound so fleeting while the rest of the music feels so everlasting.