Back on the scene we are happy to share that the cross-genre creative act Fever Ray is about to release a new album. And for those who have been fortunate enough to get tickets to her tour we can just state that we are envious here at the Stereoklang HQ. Since the ending of The Knife we have been fortunate to keep getting extraordinary tracks through Karin and her collabs.
Fever Ray (aka Karin Dreijer) announces Radical Romantics, her first new album in five-plus years, out 10 March via Rabid Records, and presents the single, “Carbon Dioxide,” co-produced by Vessel. In the world of Radical Romantics, Fever Ray presents a struggle with love, or to be precise, the myth of love. Following 2017’s Plunge, Radical Romantics speaks to both the heart and the head, the dance floor and the bedroom. Dreijer is one of pop’s true visionaries, and in their hands, crude and familiar clay is twisted into endlessly beautiful and terrible forms that balance strength with vulnerability, anxiety with safety.
Dreijer first started on Radical Romantics in fall 2019; working in the Stockholm studios built with brother and fellow The Knife member Olof Dreijer after the former completed the last Fever Ray tour in 2018 and the latter returned from living in Berlin. Some time in mid-2020, Olof joined Dreijer in working on Radical Romantics, co-producing and co-writing album opener “What They Call Us,” released last month to a wealth of praise, plus three further songs. These tracks on Radical Romantics are the first time the siblings have produced and written music together in eight years. Other co-producers and performers include the power duo of Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross (Nine Inch Nails), Portuguese DJ and producer Nídia, Johannes Berglund, Peder Mannerfelt and Pär Grindvik’s technicolor dance project Aasthma, and the aforementioned experimental artist and producer Vessel. Long-time collaborator, Martin Falck, joins Dreijer in creating the all encompassing visual world of Radical Romantics-era Fever Ray.
On the bubbling, electro-pop lead single “Carbon Dioxide,” Dreijer wanted to describe the feeling of falling in love. Reference points span Henry Mancini’s ballpark standard “Baby Elephant Walk” (Dreijer finds it to be the “happiest melody”) to 1 Corinthians 13:1 to Anne Morrow Lindberg’s 1955 essay collection, Gift from the Sea. “I just think that the direction could be nice, happy, full of everything, extra everything,” Dreijer expressed to Vessel during the song’s genesis. Vessel adds, “‘Carbon Dioxide,’ a compound which, being defined by its bond with oxygen, seems to me like a neat chemical expression of the essential compassion that the conditions for life on our planet depend. Compassion and joy; happiness guarded from sentimentality by the absurd and the grotesque; the extra-everything of unconstrained Nature.”
Romantic love: hackneyed pop song subject; star of its own full genre of films and subset of reality shows; a key preoccupation of philosophers and tale-spinners down the centuries. Wars have been fought for it, and all religions are concerned with it. It’s in the everyday fabric of all of our lives, whether we’re starry-eyed over a blooming relationship, making things work over years of growth and change, going down in flames, mourning the past, or hoping someone might fill our empty beds. It’s all of the above Dreijer wants to examine with Radical Romantics.