Four years of baited breath have finally drawn to a close with Caribou’s new ten-track album Our Love. Two styles of production seem to be competing through the album, one reminiscent of last Caribou album, Swim, and the other perhaps more akin to music made under Snaith’s alias of Daphni. Some tracks focus on the gradual evolution of sounds, whereas others focus on more lyrical verses, such as ‘Back Home’ and the collaboration with Jessy Lanza, ‘Second Chance’. Both styles saddle up together convincingly throughout the feel-good album.
‘Can’t Do Without You‘, the album’s opener and also the first track to be released after Caribou’s prolonged silence, was greeted by a confusion of reactions. Critics’ reviews and fans’ comments soared and plummeted between hype and mediocrity. The track has greater impact once in its proper context, but to say the song stood alone as a ‘summer anthem’ would seem a slight overstatement.
Both ‘Silver’ and ‘Mars’ are worth singling out, as their beauty and mastership elevate them from the rest of album. The widely emphatic ‘Silver’ incorporates a sonorous explosion which can be understood universally (this song is currently on relentless repeat in my dad’s car). Allusions to meditation and even hypnosis are found within the gradual blending and development between the female vocal sample and Snaith’s words. ‘Mars’ offers a beat-heavy anthem that is completely switched on from its onset. With its perpetual polyrhythm and the flute singing an oscillatory melody, the music is not far from Four Tet and his Percussions creations.
The second track to drop publicly in the run up to the album release was ‘Our Love’. Although it is along the same lines, ‘Our Love’ seems to do something that ‘Can’t Do Without You‘ didn’t quite achieve. The happy and nostalgic mood, found in plenty of Caribou’s music, shines out of this track, with its homage to old house styles, and an implicit reference to Inner City’s (Kevin Saunderson and Paris Grey) ‘Good Life‘.
Moving away from the happy attitude characteristic of Caribou’s sound, a level of poignancy is created in the seventh track ‘Julia Brightly’. This track acts as a bittersweet interlude with a breakbeat flavour – a tribute to the late Julia Brightly, a good friend of all Caribou members. Emotions are raised further with the album’s finale, ‘Your Love Will Set You Free’. The track is intercepted halfway through with a celestial melody carried by what can only be described as a flurry of exotic string-synths. Snaith’s repetition of “your love will set you free” provides a simple, yet surprisingly satisfying close to a beautiful comeback album.
Our Love is out now on City Slang Records, available digitally from iTunes or on vinyl from Bleep and most other retailers. To uncover more of the mystery around Dan Snaith, check out the ‘Fireside Chat’ feature he did with Red Bull Music Academy: