Saturday, 4 April 2009

Fever Ray - Fever Ray

Fever Ray
"Fever Ray"
Rabid Records 30/03/09

When I got the weekly newsletter from my independent record shop hailing Fever Rays solo debut as ‘an astoni! shing, brooding piece of magic’, I looked it up to find out more only to find the Guardian had given it 5/5. This made me curious enough to have a listen.
Fever Ray is the lead singer of the Swedish electro pop band ‘The Knife’ (you may remember their Heartbeats single). This record sees her straying away from her fun-loving synth pop side to more serious alternative solo singer territory in the vein of Bjork and Kate Bush.
The vocal and main instrumental melodies have a strange feel to them which implies more African folklore than Scandinavian electro. This is outlined by minimal, ambient production of synth pads and sparse, glassy, minimal percussion sounds accompanied by the occasional spacey guitar riff.
I really want to love this album, but after a few listens there are two big problems with it: Fever Ray just hasn’t got the vocal technique to make this kind of album, there just isn’t enough variety of timbre and range there for this to stand out in the same way a Bjork record does. The album tries to make up for this using post production vocal techniques like pitch shifting which works on a few tracks but seems a little lazy. Also, although there is clearly space for a wide variety in production style, every song does tend to sound a bit samey and again, lacking variety.
Fever Ray is not a bad album though, The Single “When I Grow Up” is strangely enticing and unexpectedly catchy as well as featuring some clever lyrics:

"You’ve got cucumbers on your eyes,
Too much time spent on nothing,
Waiting for a moment to arise."

Seven is another stand out track with an uplifting chorus and more interesting lyrical content.
There is potential and talent in this album, but something prevents it from being the record it wants to be.

You can stream the whole album from Fever Ray's Website: here

Here is the video for the single "When I Grow Up"


1. If I Had A Heart
2. When I Grow Up
3. Dry And Dusty
4. Seven
5. Triangle Walks
6. Concrete Walls
7. Nows The Only Time I Know
8. I’m Not Done
9. Keep The Streets Empty For Me