Fever Ray - Plunge - LP Vinyl

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Fever Ray
12" Vinyl


There is a fair amount of fucking on Plunge, which might come as a surprise. Where Fever Ray was largely about motherhood and the search for self—ideas she refracted through the lens of elemental forces, animism, images of fur and fire and snow—Plunge focuses all of its energies on love and desire, with a striking candor. Heads turned when, on the album’s early single “To the Moon and Back,” she shouted, “I want to run my fingers up your pussy!” When had Dreijer ever been this direct, this libidinous, this scandalous? And when, at least since “Heartbeats,” had she made anything that sounded quite as sweet or as perky, even cloying, as “To the Moon and Back”’s major-key arpeggios, Latin freestyle bassline, and delirious sing-song vocals?

But that song’s chipper tones turn out to have been a head-fake—an outlier in tone and mood on an album far noisier and more hot-blooded than Dreijer’s previous solo work. Plunge feels much more manic, more conflicted, than her debut. If Fever Ray was distinguished by its penumbral chill, this album puts the heat and light back into her alias: the fever, the radiance, the beams emanating from red-ringed eyes.

It’s not a total departure: Her electronic soundscapes are often soft and full of mystery, suggesting cobwebs glistening in the moonlight, and she has retained many hallmarks of her sound. She sends her synthesizer queasily pitching and reeling, and she favors synth patches that straddle the “real” and the artificial, like the wheezing pan pipes of “Mustn’t Hurry” or the faux vibraphones and woodpecker bursts of “To the Moon and Back.” Her ubiquitous perfect fifths, with their bold, unresolving tones, generate a kind of force field—a zone of life-giving vibration. It is hard not to feel invincible while Fever Ray is playing.

Which is good, because Plunge is riskier than anything she has made before. It is sometimes harsh, often dissonant, frequently audacious. Her voice no longer hides behind the pitch-shifting it once did; here it is sharpened and pushed high in the mix, the better to emphasize her strange, elastic, playful diction—vowels stretched and twisted in unpredictable ways, consonants that slice like paper cuts. Her voice throws off sparks as it comes into contact with similarly tempered sounds: the cascading rave stabs of “Wanna Sip,” Sara Parkman’s see-sawing violin in “Red Trail,” a scraped echo of John Cale’s viola in the Velvet Underground. “Falling” rides a beat crafted from dial tones, alarm bells, and patches of reverb as slick and hard as black ice. “IDK About You,” the album’s most thrilling song, hurtles ahead atop a 150-BPM beat of rolling toms and shrieking cuíca; Dreijer’s distorted vocals sound like she may have recorded them on her phone. The track is a collaboration with Nídia, a 20-year-old Portuguese batida producer, and it’s the song that ventures the furthest from Dreijer’s own moody wheelhouse.
1Wanna Sip
2Mustn’t Hurry
3A Part Of Us
5IDK About You
6This Country
8To The Moon And Back
9Red Trails
10An Itch
11Mama’s Hand