It’s only February but the best album of 2009 may have already arrived. In fact, ‘Fever Ray’, the new solo project from Karin Dreijer Andersson, one half of singular Swedish act The Knife, is not released in physical format until March 23rd but it’s been available to download from iTunes since January.
Fans of The Knife will know what to expect here as it’s full of that murky, eerily distinctive electro-pop we are used to but ‘Fever Ray’ is a little more immediate and accessible than her work with The Knife.Opening with the spooky ‘If I had a heart’ the quality never dips until the final note of the final track. In between we get the perverse pop of ‘When I Grow Up’, the drowsy confessional of ‘Concrete Walls’ and the solitary beats of ‘Leave the streets empty for me’. If this is a new Knife album in all but name, then it is the best Knife album yet.
If The Knife was all about the beats and glitches and conjuring up imagery to send a shiver down your spine, the songs here are more personal, less fantastical and a little less self-consciously ‘weird’. Don’t get me wrong, they are a unique and brilliant band but being freed from the creative constraints of collaborating with her brother Olof as part of The Knife seems to have provided a surfeit of new ideas for her, all of which can be heard on Fever Ray. It’s an album that yields something new with each listen, that leaves you a little dazed at the sheer ingenuity on display. It is a dark masterpiece.