by: Daniel Johnson
A repetitive droning sound may open Fever Ray’s debut album, but the release is hardly boring. In her first solo album, Fever Ray (born Karin Dreijer Andersson) blurs the line between indie rock and electronica. She does this in a way that is sure to pick up some listeners from both camps.
The album is versatile. Many of the tracks, including the opener, “If I Had a Heart”, are undoubtedly an effort to distance this project from The Knife, Fever Ray’s work along with her brother, Olof Dreijer. The first song sounds like it would be more at home in the prayer session of some weird new-age religion than found anywhere on an indie-electronic album.
The synthesizer-ridden “When I Grow Up” has a lot of added bells and whistles. It may seem over-produced but Fever Ray’s weary, yet enticing vocals give it that edge that will keep fans tuned in.
“Triangle Walks” sounds like it would be better suited as a b-side to a Bjork single, but in a good way. Although managing to sound similar to the Icelandic pop star at times, Fever Ray makes no attempt to mimic Bjork’s vocal range. She does not need to, as this mellow track appears inviting enough.
“Concrete Walls” brings back the earlier droning nature from the beginning of the album, showcasing Fever Ray’s intent to create a darker, more plotting release reminiscent of the Cure. The song warbles on for close to six minutes before the comparatively upbeat, “Now’s the Only Time I Know,” breaks in.
The song “Keep the Streets Empty for Me” is one of the more intriguing pieces on this release. While it maintains the same style of instrumentation, Fever Ray extends her vocal range beyond the limitation she sets for herself during some previous tracks. Indeed, the point of contrast is a “make-it-or-break-it” aspect of some of these songs. When Fever Ray uses repetition most effectively, she is able to create an enticing sound that is capable of maintaining her audience from The Knife and also brings in new listeners.
Those into electronica may find this release most appealing, but it should not be out of reach of some indie rockers who want to diversify their collections.