sat 18/05/2024

Album: Fever Ray - Radical Romantics | reviews, news & interviews

Album: Fever Ray - Radical Romantics

Album: Fever Ray - Radical Romantics

Karin Dreijer finds love

Fever Ray's 'Radical Romantics': a probe into a basic topic

According to the press release for Karin Dreijer’s third album as Fever Ray, its completion was preceded by many hours of therapy with the result new things are known. Amongst them that Dreijer “can be struck by despair but also by the big feeling of love and awe”. Dreijer declares “I know what love is and I want to show you”. Radical Romantics is the result of these realisations.

However, despite the seeming openness getting to Dreijer is difficult, not least as the person is hidden behind so total a stylisation it could be anyone beneath the make-up, cloaked by the artifice. Nothing under the Fever Ray name is an unadorned experience. Even so, the declarations have been made and the new album is about “falling in love”: “romantic love…the extra-everything of unconstrained nature.”

Also on board for this Swedish electro-art-dance probe into a pretty basic topic are Olof, Dreijer’s brother and partner in The Knife – who has co-produced and co-written some of Radical Romantics’s tracks. Nine Inch Nails’s Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross are in there too. So are DJs and producers Johannes Berglund, Pär Grindvik, Peder Mannerfelt and Nídia (the only female external contributor).

As with the previous two albums, there’s a sense the Tin Drum-era Japan has fed into the sonic palette. Radical Romantics begins with “What They Call us”. Over bubbling, rotating metallic pulses interspersed with stabs of electric whooshing and clanking, Dreijer huskily intones “First, I’d like to say I’m sorry, I’ve done all the tricks that I can”. Next up, “Shiver” is more linear and again coloured by swooping sounds: electronic gulls or kittiwakes. The penultimate track, “Tapping Fingers”, is the most straightforward, the most traditionally song-like. The end comes with the seven-minute “Bottom of the Ocean”, where an electronic wash is topped by a chorale of Dreijer’s sampled voice. Ultimately though, while love and new realisations have been found, Radical Romantics sounds exactly like a Fever Ray album. Maybe not so radical then.


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