New CDs – Metric, Junior Boys, Fever Ray

April 13, 2009

Listened to three excellent new cds this week: Metric’s “Fantasies,” the Junior Boys’ “Begone Dull Care,” and Fever Ray’s self-titled.

Once you take into account the fact that Fever Ray is basically Karin Dreijer Andersson, one half of the brother-sister team that makes up The Knife, all three of these albums sound pretty much exactly like you’d think they should. But since all three of these bands rank among my favorites, I’d call that a pretty good thing.

With Metric and the Junior Boys, none of the tracks really reached out to grab me the way that, say, Metric’s “Too Little Too Late” or “Poster of a Girl” off of 2005’s “Live it Out” or the Junior Boys’ “Count Souvenirs” off of 2006’s “So This is Goodbye” did and still do. On the other hand, both “Fantasies” and “Begone” are markedly more consistent than their predecessors. Maybe this is to be expected given the dates just mentioned – it’s been three years since the last Junior Boys’ album and four years in the case of Metric – but there’s really no filler or throw-aways to be found on either of these new cds, which are strong from start to finish.

Kind of neat and funny, too, how the Junior Boys’ album cover uses the French translation “Les Garcons de Premiere.” Couldn’t help but smile when I saw that, thinking that Bryan Ferry would approve.

Fever Ray is a somewhat different story. The Knife’s “Silent Shout” from 2006 was a record that really grew on me; the more I’ve listened over the years, the more I grown to like it. But “Fever Ray” is even better. Somehow, the songs manage to be slower and quieter yet at the same time more focused and intense than those on “Silent Shout.” And like this other reviewer, I found it striking that listening to the album puts one in a meditative mood even though most of the tracks seem to reflect the troubling uncertainty of our times. A moving and powerful, yet thoroughly enjoyable, lp; highly recommended.

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