Caribou - Swim
The fifth album from Dan Snaith sees him herding Caribou into some very new territory. Since 2008’s Andorra he’s exchanged overpriced lager and sticky floored gigs for overpriced lager and sticky floored clubs and as a result, Swim is a brilliantly dancefloor ready, beat heavy electro soundscape. But this is Caribou. It couldn’t just be a straight forward dance album now, could it?
In the same period of time, Dan Snaith, in his early thirties, has learnt to swim. This has lead him to consider the nature of electronic music altogether. Rather than creating a dance album that feels, in his words, “like metal”, he has experimented tirelessly to create an album that feels “like water”. In real terms, this means lots of panned sounds and Doppler style surges. Swim has to be listened to on good quality headphones or really good quality speakers. It is completely 3D. The sounds swish from left to right and fly at you from miles in front. But, rather than feeling underwater, it feels quite cinematic. Like a sound art installation you can take home.
Forgetting the concept for a second, the album is packed with tunes. Album opener, ‘Odessa’ could be a stand out track on a Hot Chip album and in good company on the latest Gorillaz opus. The rest of the album combines the brilliance of Booka Shade, the hypnotic K-hole of The Field and a little bit of chaos that is all Snaith’s own. The album concludes with ‘Jamelia’, a contender for the coolest song ever, with Luke Lalonde from Canada’s most underrated band, Born Ruffians, lending uncharacteristically soulful vocals.
Caribou are notoriously completely different live than on CD, but no matter what Snaith has in store, the Swim tour is set to be a real treat. Let's just hope they haven't jettisoned those two drum kits.