Monday, November 6th, 2017

Fever Ray – To The Moon And Back

Much better than Sugar Ray…


Rebecca A. Gowns: An energetic return, fully recharged. The sound is peppy, but also spiky and slightly uncomfortable; I like having that feeling again, the sore tooth in the gum that I want to keep wiggling. “To the Moon and Back” allows for the wiggling, but frustrates the desire; just as the lyrics become ravenous, the music peters out. Like reading erotica in a hair shirt.

Cédric Le Merrer: Karin Dreijer may be back as Fever Ray but here she’s picking up the pieces of The Knife. The best thing about that band may have been the constant push and pull between their pop and avant garde leanings, the tension visibly reaching a breaking point on the last album/tour. “To the Moon and Back” is concise, sunny synth pop à la Heartbeats, and just as cutting. In my mind I can’t separate the track from its video. And from recent debates about BDSM, power relations, and wilful self debasement I’ve been having with friends. Which, being a music nerd first and foremost, I then link back to musical tastes. So the question here is whether the pop tones or the more abrasive sounds are the painful/degrading bit for you. Or maybe both are as pleasurable to you as they are to me ?

Katherine St Asaph: The first Fever Ray record saved my life. The second one, presumably, is about how that life, having been saved, can get back to the good stuff, namely, fucking. For all the predictable jaw-dropping at that one line, “To the Moon and Back” is as lewd as it’s romantic, and romantic in an old-fashioned way. It’s about, having searched and searched, finding a specific person with specific desires — “you like tangerines, and your kiss is sweet and creamy,” like the Pina Colada Song for someone who lasts more than five minutes. The arrangement, otherwise Silent Shout turned inside out until there are brief moments of darkness among the euphoria rather than the other way round, drops out for that one verse; all that’s left is a grinding buzz, like sounds escaping clenched teeth. It’s a bit short for a single, the structural equivalent of an “and then what? ;)” But music, like sex, is better when it’s not a one-off.

Ian Mathers: Well, that’s now another thing Fever Ray and The Knife have in common besides some personnel; both followed up near-perfect, chilly but not remote post-Goth masterpieces with long silences and then relatively sudden eruptions into new, more colourful and body-focused (both libido and not) music. The “pussy” line is of course getting attention; that kind of Norm MacDonald-style single entendre isn’t exactly common in popular songs about sex, love, and attraction. But really it’s in keeping with Karin Dreijer Andersson’s willingness to do precisely whatever the fuck she wants without caring whether we like it and her ability, whatever band she’s in, to make the “kinky” — or otherwise unusual/deviant/whatever — feel “normal” and vice versa. “Now things can start happening” indeed.

Nortey Dowuona: Bouncy, pulsing bass? Shaky, fluid synths? Soft, crinkling percussion? Popping, buoyant drums? Calming, yet raspy singing by Karin Drejer Andersson? THIS IS INCREDIBLE!?!

Tim de Reuse: The main objective is to build into the line “I want to ram my fingers up your pussy,” but if that was the only joke it wouldn’t work more than once; luckily, we also get lines indicating casual familiarity (“Hey, remember me?”) and a whirlwind of a melody that’s too scattered to get stuck in your head but too joyous to get old. 

Will Adams: The dazzling arpeggios draped over each other remind me of Perfume’s “Butterfly,” except instead of linear scalar runs, the ones here dart around, lingering on a note briefly before zooming off to another area. Meanwhile, Karin’s voice acts as the calm center amidst it all. Like most new-found love, as much as the periphery cultivates an anxious flutter — the feverish worries about how I’m coming off, the insurmountable potential to harness, the disbelief of what I’m feeling is true — the core retains the warm stillness of having found peace.

Alfred Soto: The synthesized effects are so ebullient that when Karin Dreijer sings “Hey, remember me?” in her four-alarm-fire tones, it’s like a greeting from an old friend whose avidity is impressive and not a little frightening. As a sample of the new Fever Ray album, “To the Moon and Back” does its job, part of which is to hide its intentions behind a boilerplate title.

William John: On its face, a line like “I want to ram my fingers up your pussy” reads as smut, or sensationalism. But when Karin Dreijer intones it in her vowelly drawl, it scans as creditable transgression. She mouths vulgarities in between blasts of beaming synth, contrasting the savage sexuality with a welcome radiance, like sunlight flickering through a tranquil garden. All this contrariety is diffused with overwhelming queerness — vital, even though it’s 2017, or perhaps, simply because it’s 2017.

Reader average: [7.44] (9 votes)

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3 Responses to “Fever Ray – To The Moon And Back”

  1. got to be some kind of record for highest score / lowest controversy hm?

  2. Alfred ruined this potentially iconic moment in time

  3. I’m curious where ‘ram’ comes from – it seems pretty clearly ‘run’?