Fever Ray – Radical Romantics

The enigmatic Swede is back with a skewed take on pop music's favourite topic

Album Review by Lewis Wade | 07 Mar 2023
  • Fever Ray - Radical Romantics
Album title: Radical Romantics
Artist: Fever Ray
Label: Rabid Records
Release date: 10 Mar

Radical Romantics is an examination of love in all its multifarious machinations, but in the typically twisted way you'd expect from Fever Ray, so don't expect any saccharine ballads. The album also features the first collaboration between Karin Dreijer and brother Olaf (he co-produced the first four songs) since the disbandment of The Knife in 2014. Other producers and collaborators appear throughout the album, such as Trent Reznor and Nídia, which makes for a decent amount of variety, though there are some tonal shifts that feel a little jarring.

Those first four songs are your “normal” Fever Ray: bloopy electronics, big drums that either pound (What They Call Us) or stutter (New Utensils) and Dreijer's vocals that manage to be both sweet and creepy. Lead single Carbon Dioxide arrives out of nowhere in the album's back half with a recognisable beat and disco strings, a catchy song that demands movement, almost erupting into a eurodisco rave by its end. Then, just as quickly, North slows things down for the most melancholic, contemplative song Fever Ray has ever made. Album closer, Bottom of the Ocean, was originally written for an Ingmar Bergman play and is simply seven minutes of 'ohs' with some droning synths.

The album may not be more than the sum of its parts, but thankfully those parts are packed full of enough weird and wonderful sounds to ensure another excellent Fever Ray album.

Listen to: Shiver, Tapping Fingers, Carbon Dioxide