In time for the Halloween season, one of Sweden’s most creative souls Karin Dreijer Andersson has frighteningly reappeared with eerie teaser videos showing her with a gothic-coloured bald head and smudged joker-style make-up, participating in a shocking BDSM take on a Mad Hatter tea party and advertising a bizarre kinky hotline service. This is all before she startles critics by unleashing a second album completely out-of-the-blue.
Despite its spine-tingling album cover, Dreijer Andersson’s alter ego Fever Ray’s second album is not meant to scare you away. Quite the opposite. Entitled Plunge, its goal is to encourage free action, liberation and the mentality to jump into hedonism without hesitation. To plunge oneself in the deep end quickly and energetically without fear and to give in to curiosity. This is shown in the lyrics in which Fever Ray criticises those who don’t meet her level of excitement: “”Destroy boring” (which she puts on the same pedestal as “free abortions” in terms of importance), “You’re not curious, I don’t think you should hang with us” and “Saw the blood but it’s not scary” (‘Wanna Sip’).
One key credential of plunging is taking risks and Fever Ray does this on Plunge with her uncensored sexual approach to flirtatious love and lust which read sometimes like an experimental nymphomaniac’s diary: “I want to run my fingers up your pussy” (in the gender mystery ‘To The Moon and Back’), “this house makes it hard to fuck” (‘This Country’), “she’s making me feel dirty again” and to a milder extent: “Touching in the snow one day. Laying low and kissing” (‘Red Trails’).
The good thing about the new record Plunge for fans of her beautifully dark debut release from eight years ago is that it now only fully complies to Fever Ray’s urge for adventurous and uncompromising compositions but it also has the same nocturnal paradise as its predecessor. Thankfully it’s not as mad as her last album with The Knife, the frankly unlistenable Shaking The Habitual, but it experiments. ‘Wanna Sip’ uses rattling bells and Shepherd tone to sound like fireworks, ‘IDK About You’ is psychedelic electro with jungle rhythms, backmasking and subtle orgasm noises and ‘This Country’ contains awkward beats, wayward lasers and creepy chords.
‘Falling’, ‘Mama’s Head’ and ‘Red Trails’ fit the nighttime dystopian tone of the first album with their patient beat progression, echoey vibrations and clicking percussion. The latter appears to feature the Middle-Eastern string instrument Oud at its forefront to give the track a mesmerising otherworldly journey – even then Fever Ray makes it shiver to make it feel cold and nervous whilst she creepily sings: “Blood was our favourite paint. You were my favourite pain.”
In one of her teaser video messages, she instructs us how to live our lives: “Let’s throw ourselves in whatever is out there there waiting for us. Let’s say yes to all.” It has to be said that the album’s structure, lyrics and music do very well at convincing and persuading her allegiance to follow her philosophy.
Plunge is out now on Rabid Records.