April 20, 2010

Music Review: Caribou – Swim

Ontarian Dan Snaith has been releasing music for a full decade now, under the moniker Caribou (and formerly Manitoba). Swim, the follow-up album to the Polaris-winning Andorra, takes a bit of a welcome left turn. When you reach such a peak it’s either a sideways turn or a downhill ride, and this record doesn’t fail to disappoint. Snaith has traded a lot of the Beach Boys influence, lo-fi drums and Psych Rock for a more electronic disco sound, summoning the spirit of Arthur Russell at his best. Don’t misunderstand – this is still Caribou. It has the same textures, percussive layers and beautifully convoluted song structures you will recognize from the previous work, it’s just taken a holiday to Ibiza, Berlin and back. From the instantly infectious opener "Odessa" to the blissed-out dub of "Sun" to the stunning "Bowls", which comes across like a heavily caffeinated Pantha du Prince, this album is a perfect summer record. It’s not only his most club-friendly record; it just may well be his best.