Fever Ray | Radical Romantics | Mute

Review: Fever Ray – Radical Romantics

National Music Reviews

Fever Ray
Radical Romantics

Street: 03.10
Fever Ray = HEALTH + Kate Bush x Poppy

Radical Romantics is an energetic processing of the emotions in the corner of your eye, the feelings that sit on the periphery of your focus. From the album’s lead single, “What They Call Us,” to its closing and tenth track, “Bottom of the Ocean,” Karin Dreijer is shaping ecosystems of sound around big, overwhelming feelings.

With producer credits from Dreijer’s brother and The Knife collaborator, Olof Dreijer, along with Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross and others, Radical Romantics places you in a room and throws sound around you. On “Shiver,” a mosquito-esque synth bounces around the track as other sounds come in and out of focus. The drums keep a rhythm and voices shriek melodically. Karin’s voice anchors it all down, constraining the sense of cacophony into a digestible track that ends up sounding more listenable than the sum of its parts. They sing, “Some girls you wanna thrust / Some girls you wanna see shiver / I just wanna be touched / I just wanna shiver.” 

Many of the tracks are like this: High-energy, psychedelic synths buzz and happen to you, and Karin channels these feelings toward further abstractions with lyrics surrounding love, loving, grand gestures, urges and edges. Karin has grabbed your brain and is doing Fushigi ball tricks with it in front of you, and it’s kinda silly. 

Radical Romantics is an invitation to Karin Dreijer’s mind and its kaleidoscopic thrillride. The iconic 2009 track “If I Had a Heart,” from the Fever Ray album, is where I last felt connected to Karin and their intensity, and I feel reconnected with Radical Romantics. This album’s emphasis on powerful and large moments and sound bring Fever Ray into a heavy production that suits Dreijer’s presence, pounding you with noise until you can stare at it directly and unflinchingly. –Parker Scott Mortensen 

Read more reviews of synth-driven art pop:
Review: Bring Her – Comfort in the Shame
Review: Billy Nomates – Cacti