Monday, December 7

Fever Ray @The Forum, London 05/12/09

. Monday, December 7

Anyone starting a band should be forced to study Fever Ray at great length for a lesson in how to do things properly. From album artwork to music videos and appearance every corner that could have been cut by Karin Dreijer Andersson has instead been laboured over and treated with conceptual love resulting in a beautiful and awe inspiring project which, in the live arena, achieves a celebratory climax.

Unlike so many gigs you get the feeling that every second of tonight’s performance has been planned and thought over at great length. Every time one of the lamps providing light blinks in time with the music, every time a member of the band is projected into the light, every time anything happens it’s because it’s meant to and it has a purpose. Tonight’s sold out audience are hushed into a collective silence as Andersson walks on stage, concealed by a structured costume, to the chiming beats of ‘If I Had A Heart’ and then the lasers start. The whole Fever Ray performance is, quite literally, illuminated by beams of multi coloured light refracting at various angles around the stage, venue and audience. It’s a stunning sight and one that some of the more ‘spaced’ members of the crowd spend all night staring at intently.

In amongst the light the music on display varies between dark shamanic elegance to, at times, cold patience testing electronica. Playing the majority of this years self titled album Fever Ray encompass the highs and lows of the record so the dance orientated side typified by songs like ‘Triangle Walks’ and ‘When I Grow Up’ impress and engage in equal measure. However for every moment of swirling ethereal melancholy the mood is brought back down with stripped back and minimal workouts for Andersson to exercise her impressive vocals over. As a result songs like ‘Concrete Walks’ and ‘Dry and Dusty’ fall flat, adding atmosphere but no real importance.

Singing aside Andersson remains silent throughout. This is to her merit and it creates an atmosphere of theatre to an already ostentatious spectacle. Seeing Fever Ray is less like going to a gig and more like looking through a kaleidoscope at a tribal gathering. This sensual overload may not be the endorphin rush of Andersson’s main band The Knife but it’s a ritual we should bow down to and admire on an idiosyncratic, creative and inventive level.


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