It has been a long, eight years since Karin Dreijer debuted her solo project, Fever Ray. From the beginning of the self-titled album, all the way to the end, Dreijer managed to sew together a complex string of poetic, and groundbreaking tracks. Since Fever Ray’s debut, Dreijer has taken on a bit of a transformation. Egged on by intensifying political and environmental conditions, Fever Ray has adopted a more aggressive stance. Dreijer’s latest album, Plunge, explores this newly agitated fervor.
The tone for Plunge is set in stone from track one. “Wanna Sip” begins painting a heavy atmosphere, Dreijer sings, “I wanna love you but you’re not making it easy.” Her voice cracks into shouts and the song rattles like a cracked bell. As synthy notes descend, the mood deepens. “Mustn’t Hurry,” picks up with a more solemn element. As each melodic line sounds out, intensity builds, and the track gains some more texture.
The instrumental arsenal behind Fever Ray sounds dirtier this time –embracing fuzz with a post-apocalyptic sentiment. Dreijer floats between pop –with her more danceable melodies, and industrial music –with its gloomy outlook. Tracks like, “IDK About You,” will stay with you for weeks and haunt you in your sleep. The percussive thump smacks through your speakers like a poltergeist. Dreijer sings, “I know the way to fantasy, the world of dreams, the place to be.” Like a Swedish myth, Dreijer pulls you into a dizzying, magical world.
Plunge taps into something tribal and primal. The electronic rhythms penetrate your skin and let the music overwhelm you. The dramatically powerful melodies, driven by synthesizers, soak you in a seedy atmosphere. The sexually charged lyrics reach deep into your Freudian mind, and seduces those Pagan lusts and desires to come forward. Plunge can easily be taken as hedonistic and twisted for its naughty overtones, but beneath Fever Ray’s dirty words is a complex narrative about love, passion, and political bondage.
Predictably, everyone is going to be drawn to “To The Moon and Back” –the song closes on a big shock. Dreijer sings out, “I want to run my fingers up your pussy.” And that’s one hell of a message –but there’s more to Dreijer’s message than just sex. Earlier tracks, like “This Country,” are straight political commentary. Lyrical lines like, “We’re not attractive to this country’s standards,” and Dreijer’s demands for, “Free abortions, clean water, destroy nuclear, destroy boring,” construct a manifesto.
Needless to say, Dreijer has come a long way from, “On the seventh day I rest,” –if anything, Fever Ray is restless. Plunge is submerged in whimsical, dark, personally driven, and universally empathized sentiments. The synth melodies carry the emotion, Dreijer’s words highlight the details. Not many albums are convincing, and few can convey thoughts or feelings perfectly –Fever Ray’s Plunge is an exception.
If you’re looking for a theatrical, emotional, defiantly free, dark, and gritty listen, just take the plunge. Fever Ray’s latest album is almost certainly Dreijer’s magnum opus.