Fever Ray Unveils Provocative, Experimental Album ‘Plunge’
From The Knife to Honey is Cool, Karin Dreijer has been on the edge of mystery for years. Her interviews are sparse, her live performances often shrouded, but with her solo project Fever Ray, she unleashes a side of herself rarely seen. Fever Ray’s debut album came in 2009 to universal acclaim for its confessional lyricism and chilling melodies, and for her latest release, eight years later, Dreijer turns to flesh. “Plunge” a deep-dive into a sexual psyche where anything goes.
Because Dreijer is one-half of the popular Swedish duo The Knife – which formed in the late 90’s – she gets credit for this eerily stylistic form of electro-pop that’s now become popular through not-quite-mainstream acts like Purity Ring and Grimes. “Plunge” comes at a time when the world of pop is being pulled in various directions, all at once. The direction Dreijer has chosen is no doubt towards the dark side. The first taste of the new album came from “To The Moon and Back,” a perfect example of the singer’s shadowy eroticism. Lines like “And your kiss is sweet and creamy” and “Breathe some life into a fantasy” beat around the bush of what Dreijer really wants to do to her unnamed female counterpart. “I want to ram my fingers up your p****” she explicitly declares before the song peters out. The music video shows herself amongst a mixed bag of Hunger Games-type characters who force her into a genuinely outlandish kink party, the perfect backdrop for what’s to come.
Dreijer knows exactly where she wants to take her listeners. In an open letter to fans via Facebook, she writes “Sex and music stand guard over a shared silence under the noise…” On the aptly named “Wanna Sip” transforms from minimalist beats into delightfully disorienting synths as she drops lines such as “Something made a little opening/I wanna come inside” and “Wanna do it?/If we do it, it’s my way.” Subtlety definitely isn’t Dreijer’s thing. Instead, she provides a refreshing look into her base thoughts. In another example, “Musn’t Hurry” is somehow both laid-back and jolting with her voice teasing each kinky lyric line by line. “I’m feeling weak/A beast to seek,” she confesses, “Licking my fingers/Got the last crumb.” Even “This Country” uses sex as a way to ream what’s assumed to be her home country of Sweden, but sounds more like it was written about America. “This country makes it hard to fuck” she proclaims.
A break from the lyrical action comes three-quarters of the way into the album with the title track. “Plunge” is totally instrumental using whizzing synth patterns and looped buildups alongside asymmetrical drums. Fever Ray accomplishes this through a team of producers with varying backgrounds – from The Knife collaborators to new faces like the Tunisian future-club DJ Deena Abdelwahed to the Berlin-based Trance artist Tami T. Dreijer has recruited a flurry of soundscapes to perfectly accompany her potty-mouthed lyricism. “Red Trails” uses strings to provide a rare relaxing mood in an album full of in-your-face sonic motifs while “Mama’s Hand” closes out the album with a soothing, worldly trance beat.
Sure, this album runs through a litany of anomalous sexual behavior, and sure that makes it a really fun listen, but what’s more is Dreijer’s ability to inspire. For anyone questioning their own individuality, give “Plunge” a listen try not to walk out into the world in the most unabashed, fantastical version of yourself. From her mouth to your ears, “You can trust me baby…I know the way to fantasy.”
“Plunge” is available Oct. 27 on Apple Music.