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Fever Ray, Albert Hall. 1st March 2024

It’s packed in Albert Hall tonight. Are all these people here Fever Ray fans, or are there a few like me that are here because they loved The Knife. They were of course singer Karin Dreijer’s previous project that wrapped up 10 years ago. I’m starting to get concerned how fast time is passing! Fever Ray in many ways feels like a continuation of The Knife, just a little different. Which is a good summary of Fever Ray, a little different. After the usual battle to find a decent vantage point upstairs, the lights go down leaving the stage lit by an old Victorian street light. Did I mention this is likely to get theatrical. I was intrigued to hear how the heavily processed and layered vocals of the records would work live, brilliantly is the short answer. Karin sounds amazing, those deep notes flanked by two backing singers, as they and the other two band members are all encased in neon lighting  for ‘What They Call Us’. When they launch into ‘When I Grow Up’ the penny drops that I actually know the debut record quite well, better than I thought as I find myself singing along. It’s got a slower tempo until the oriental synths loop in. Not like ‘Mustn’t Hurry’ ironically, that despite not upping the bpm, is blessed with brutal brooding basslines. The whole sound is heavily processed and controlled and the atmosphere is like a futuristic rave. Dressed in the white suit from the cover of latest album Radical Romantics, Karin orchestrates the synchronised dance moves on ‘Triangle Walks’ that are as sharp as the synths. It’s all pure rhythm, driven by the bass. Which is exactly what this crowd want, rarely have I seen a room move like this. It’s a swell of positivity and wonderful to witness. Everyone’s into it. Well aside one bloke near me who I suspect has been brought along by his partner and looks awkward as hell during ‘To The Moon and Back’, poor lad. He seems to enjoy ‘Shiver’ a bit more, bobbing his head before he panics at the sight of his empty pint and vanishes. Things switch up for ‘Even It Out’ as the drums get stripped back to a more natural sound, albeit accompanied with sythy sounding bass guitar and a couple of keytars for good measure. It’s packed with vitriolic snarl and sounds awesome. I’ll admit not being a die hard fan does see me come unstuck in places as things get a bit europop, but songs like ‘Carbon Dioxide’ bring me back in. It’s got some edge to it and Karin, now free of the suit jacket knows how to keep the crowd on its toes. I thought I might be a bit 50/50 coming in. It’s a good set, but I’m here for songs like ‘If I Had a Heart’ much more. It’s the darkness in my soul I guess, its ominous tones and sound bath cymbals speak to me as they close the set with it. Karin shrouded in probing lights that cut through the smoke. After a quick costume change into black cloaks, they encore with ‘Coconut’ who’s intro sounds a bit like Sisters if they’d gone a little pop. It might be my favourite of the night, but on the whole I was hoping to be a bit more captivated than I was. I think I’m in the minority though, everyone is glowing as we shuffle out. One lad declaring “that was even better than when we saw them in Cologne last year!” Decent gig though and the set passed quickly which is telling. Glad I came.


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