Album Review: Fever Ray – Plunge

By Sam Tornow, General Manager
[Mute; 2017]
Rating: 8/10

Key Tracks: “To The Moon and Back”, “This Country”, “IDK About You”

Nearly a decade after the release of her legendary, critically-acclaimed, self-titled album, Fever Ray, aka Karin Dreiger, emerged from the embers with a single concluding with the line, “I want to ram my fingers up your pussy.” An uncompromisingly straight-forward lyric that now, after Plunge’s release can be seen as a fair synopsis as for what The Knife alumna was about to let the listener in on: a bold follow-up fueled by sex, queerness, and expression in a world that all too often shackles all those things.

In the manifesto released to parallel the album, Fever Ray commands the reader to “Listen!” to her proclaim what could be the thesis for Plunge: “Sex is work, love is work, work is sex, work is love, the magical conversion of “is” given impossible power by its delivery in music.” Fair enough.

At Plunge’s core, below the star-light synths and witchy vocals are an unrelenting, controversial and demanding view of the world.  And for those who still believe music should exist in vacuum away from topical issues, Fever Ray is here to let in some oxygen and send that ancient, overtly conservative idea to hell: “Free Abortions,” she requests on “This Country,” ostracizing the opposition by immediately coupling in “…and clean water.”

While bold values and ideologies often act as a hive-mind in the industry, garnering fans so that they can hear their own thoughts validated, the skeletal structure of Plunge is sturdy enough to stand on its own two feet. It’s a formulaic pop album, with a slight yet significant tweak, fine-tuned through the repeated use over Dreijer’s solo career and time with The Knife. Such as on  “Part of Us,” “Plunge” and “To the Moon and Back,” which are layered with vibrant MIDI structures, so shiny that you can’t help but smile while rallying against lingering oppression imposed upon the LGBTQA+ community.

Is it Fever Ray? No, it’s Plunge. Nearly a decade younger with a world new set of challenges to confront. Give it time, it will grow.

Listen here:

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