Radical Romantics by Fever Ray album review by Adam Fink for Northern Transmissions


Radical Romantics

Fever Ray

The first line on the new Fever Ray album, Radical Romantics, is “First I’d like to say that I’m sorry” but there is nothing here to ever apologize for. Karin Drejier aka Fever Ray hasn’t put out a ton of music since starting their solo endeavour, this is only the third release from Fever Ray since 2009, but the quality on these albums is extremely high. Drejier is working again with her brother Olof Drejier, who is their former bandmate in The Knife. The exciting collaborations don’t stop there though. Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross make an appearance as well as Portuguese DJ and producer Nídia. Even with these celebrated co-conspirators, this album is all Drejier. Radical Romantics is a sophisticated blast of otherworldly pop, dance floor ready and yet so thoughtful. It’s not only perfect for a night out but also one in, when you crave something to consider and feel.

“What They Call Us” kicks off the album with its minimal beat and spine tingling arpeggiated melody. With the track Drejier makes reference to their absence in the musical landscape and makes it their intention to take some of that back. Drejier sings, “It’s a common misperception/This is not a band/Ready for a dissection/Now Mommy’s gotta work, see the land.” It is a call to arms about a couple of things. Even though the track was produced with her brother Olaf, this isn’ a The Knife redux and also now that they are working again, it seems like they want to make the most of it and take this new album on the road. “New Utensils” hits hard with its stuttered beat and pulsating synth blasts. Many of the recurring themes on the album describe wanting to find, fall or understand what love is. “Carbon Dioxide” The track references Henry Mancini’s “Baby Elephant Walk”, which Drejier has described as the happiest of melodies. While the song was meant to be a description of what it is like to fall in love, it is refreshingly without a ton of sentimentality and remains in step with the album’s musical mission statement.

It has been awhile since Fever Ray has put out new music but after listening to Radical Romantics it’s easy to not begrudge Drejier for taking their time. These are the types of songs that it pays to sit with, to sink into, to appreciate. They are exciting and challenging and clearly lovingly crafted. These may not be qualities that are only unique to Fever Ray’s oeuvre but they are qualities that Drejier has captured with authority on all their work and especially here.

Pre-order Radical Romantics by Fever Ray HERE


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