Fever Ray

Live at Troxy

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AllMusic Review by

Karin Dreijer never passes up an opportunity to reimagine their music in a live setting. Just as Shaken-Up Versions documented how the Knife reinvented their music in concert, Live at Troxy captures how the shows Fever Ray played in support of 2017's excellent Plunge united that album and 2009's self-titled debut into a ferocious, joyous whole. Recorded at Fever Ray's March 2018 show at the London venue, Live at Troxy's celebratory feel is palpable. The songs from Plunge sound more vital than ever, from the raging opener "An Itch" to the stark, towering rendition of "This Country," a tirade against sexual repression that only feels more subversively powerful performed for a crowd. Meanwhile, Fever Ray's darker songs offer a potent contrast; in particular, "If I Had a Heart"'s glowering need is even more compelling next to Plunge's neon outbursts. The way Dreijer combines -- and sometimes reinvents -- the strengths of their albums on Live at Troxy makes for fascinating listening. As they merge Fever Ray's ice with Plunge's fire, the results are never lukewarm. Plunge's hypnotic hyperballad "Red Trails" is the perfect counterpart to the midnight depths of Fever Ray's "Concrete Walls" (one of the few songs on Troxy that keeps the pitch-shifted vocals that used to be a mainstay of Dreijer's work). Elsewhere, a brassy, emphatic version of "Triangle Walks" echoes "To the Moon and Back," the vivid single that kicked off the Plunge era. Some of Live at Troxy's biggest revelations occur when Dreijer brings that album's heat and light to their debut's shadowy songs. "When I Grow Up," one of the first songs that hinted at their potential as a solo artist, is reborn as a futuristic Carnaval celebration with a surprisingly booty-shaking beat. "I'm Not Done" takes the mood even further, trading the original version's gloom for anthemic, funky self-confidence. The bold, political-is-personal mood of Live at Troxy stretches beyond its music to the crew and performers who helped make the show possible: On the Plunge tour, Dreijer worked with as many female and non-binary artists -- many of whom, like Dreijer, were mothers over 40 -- as they could. Along with its generous set list and powerful performances, the attention to details like these makes Live at Troxy another riveting expression of Dreijer's passionate commitment to their work.

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