Clutter Control: Fever Ray's self-titled

Clutter Control: Fever Ray's self-titled

Fever Ray's self-titled album called to me from the break-room free table. I'll admit, my choice was based entirely on the great cover art. Swedish artist Martin Ander skillfully aped the style of Charles Burns' Black Hole; in fact, the atmospheric, haunting album would make an excellent soundtrack to for the book.

The Gist
There are tons of slow, atmospheric electronic albums out there. Nearly all of them will bore you into a stupor, bore you till your brain falls out your ass, bore you till you pick up the CD player and hurl it through the window just to hear a little fuckin' noise. It's fantastically difficult to make a slow, atmospheric electronic album interesting.

Fever Ray has succeeded magnificently, treading the tightrope between jarring and somnolent with grace. Karin Dreijer Andersson, the artist behind Fever Ray, sings in thin, childlike strains, often distorted or tweaked to sound unearthly, while the instrumentals alternately grind and sway, teasing the ear as they flow trip-hop-like between points of interest.

The Low Point
Andersson's last project was the Knife, a band that (to paraphrase Indietits) convinced hipsters that bloopy house techno was a new artistic direction instead of a tired retreading. Sometimes (not very often at all) you can hear the bloopiness trying to re-emerge. Lilly Allen can get away with it because it's cute, but bubble-gum sounds have no place on an album as dark as this one.

Pleasant Surprises

"When I Grow Up," the second track on the album, is lush and utterly gorgeous. It begs to grace the soundtrack of a gritty, washed out sci-fi anime or gun-fu movie, as the sweeping instrumentals and quite-but-driving rhythms speak of a calm before a raging battle. The track also has an awesome music video:

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