Fever Ray: “Radical Romantics” Album Review – a plunging into the unknown


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Rating: 4 out of 5.

A shape-shifting electronic pop trope of icy atmosphere bent out of shape from Karin Dreijer – a wanderer lusting for unrequited love.

Listen to Fever Ray and Plunge into the unknown. A dark, icy embrace at times. A warm fire-flirt touch to many. The promiscuous half of sibling duo The Knife and former web designer, Karin Dreijer’s solo project of Fever Ray constantly thrives how far music can be squeezed into its artist boundaries. On 2017’s fiery Plunge, they delivered frequently thrilling manifestos on queerness, politics, and desire. Radical Romantics is often slipperier, slower and if anything, the contradictory. An ice-cold perception to the abdomen of love. A cautious trail into the possibility of love being bad for you. Where The Knife‘s work is a vivid image of striking electro-pop, their solo work is more curious and exhaustive; almost like the very minimal of breath is needed to throw the spark out from the fire.

Love and fire are two of the most interconnecting needs to make us human. An overwhelming satisfaction that may be true, but any closer to the flame, and the gloves start to singe. The obelisk of the album, Carbon Dioxide is the take-over of intoxication; that last breath, “Holding my heart (holding my heart) / while falling (while falling).” While meditative Kandy fluctuates between the harrowing prospect of having much more love to give, while the grainy sands of time slip through your fingers; “we’ve been talking / Now I’m singing, what if I die with this song inside?” Certainly, a solitude of after-thought. The bullish extent of Even It Out – a song swamped in dark undertones of lustful retribution as Dreijer honours the prophet Zacharis – “God remembers.”

With an artist who constantly reinvents the wheel of the alternative and absurd from 2017’s Plunge to 2003’s Deep Cuts over at The Knife’s place of inventive approval, you can hardly act surprised when their wispy, rich third album offers new tropes into the mix. An other-worldly design of lucrative creativity – Radical Romantics is very much a lustre venture into the unknown; how ill-fated it may be. This is a stark comparison to the bleak tonalities of If I Had A Heart – an eerie tribal chant very fitting to the decadence of The Vikings – a dispirited world not too dissimilar to Fever Ray’s cursive portrayal of love that is equally sensual; as it is equally alien.


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