The Knife, dressed as Bubonic plague doctors.
I share Sasha Frere-Jones' fear of Sweden's The Knife, yet I remain as excited about the upcoming album from its lead singer's solo effort, Fever Ray, as a marauding Viking horde is of invading a peaceable neighbor. As The Knife, Karin Dreijer Andersson and her brother Olof Dreijer shot listeners down a pulsating shaft of Goth-tinged, bass-heavy ambience with '06's Silent Shout, and if this track from Andresson's latest foray into aural existentialism is any indication, Fever Ray's disc will be even more harrowing. There's really no other word for it.
One wonders the extent to which Sweden's weather has played a role in the formation of both The Knife and Fever Ray's sound. A forbidding abyss during winter and a solar explosion during summer, Sweden offers the kind of external extremes that can lead to dark rumblings in the soul. This explains a little about Andersson's miasmatic--and often manipulated--voice, as well as The Knife and Fever Ray's 21st-century-meets-medieval production, I think. Any Swedes out there who can, er, shed some light on the subject?