Albums

Album Review: Caribou – ‘Our Love’

             After breaking into popular consciousness with his widely esteemed 2010 release Swim, Dan Snaith returns once again under the moniker Caribou to bring us another intricately crafted record which, in expected form, is as intelligent and entrancing as it is soulful and euphoric.

With a captivating blend of house, garage, electronic and dance, Our Love appears to build upon the engineering of Swim in terms of directing its sound decidedly towards the dancefloor. Though his earlier work was just as proficient in terms of its craft and ambiance, the foundational rhythms and catchy, pop hooks of ‘Can’t Do Without You’ and the eponymous track ‘Our Love’ only add to Caribou’s already weighty authority in the realms of the electronic and house scene.

Caribou’s latest LP serves as an extension to his view that dance music is not just the background noise that accompanies your fervent attempt to lose your mind every Saturday night – there is art in it

Following a 4-year hiatus as Caribou, with the release of Jiaolong under the pseudonym Daphni in 2012, Our Love has been described as Snaith’s most personal, introspective release to date. Accompanied by a colossal world tour that began in June and will continue until late November, Caribou’s latest LP serves as an extension to his view that dance music is not just the background noise that accompanies your fervent attempt to lose your mind every Saturday night – there is art in it. It’s crafted with sincere dexterity, and, particularly in terms of Snaith’s work, supreme intelligence (the man has a PhD in Mathematics for fuck’s sake). In Snaith’s words “Dance music isn’t just escapism; at best it’s always been about including the difficulties and challenges of life rather than just being this Utopian, bacchanalian zone.” (Talking to The Guardian last week).

It’s evident that Our Love continues this urgency for the music to be about something as much as to continue the hypnotic ambiguity that has defined so many of Snaith’s other releases. Apparently influenced by the birth of his daughter in 2011, Our Love opens and proceeds with a much more uplifting attitude than the darker elements of Swim – the building, beguiling sounds of ‘Can’t Do Without You’ drop into bassy, euphoric waves of electronica to open the album with a haunting, feel-good structure that will be in your head for days.

‘Our Love’ and ‘Julia Brightly’ serve as manifest reminders as to the place of this album against Caribou’s back catalogue

Even with this opening impression in mind, it wouldn’t be a Caribou record if you weren’t vaguely unsettled by the eerie atmosphere and chilling vocals that are palpable in tracks such as ‘Silver’ and ‘Back Home’. Even with these cap-tips to his earlier stuff, ‘Our Love’ and ‘Julia Brightly’ serve as manifest reminders as to the place of this album against Caribou’s back catalogue – their bouncy, ethereal soundscapes against thumping rhythms see that they wouldn’t be out of place at Stealth on the weekend. Add to all this the influence of tracks such as ‘Second Chance’ which, through unsettling melodies and echoing, trippy synth, is suggestive more of a trance record than anything else, it’s fair to say that Caribou has created here an impressive collection which does not shy away from one particular genre or style.

            Our Love is an album that will demand of you multiple listens to fully explore every corner of its ingenuity. Whilst it represents, in one sense, a movement further into new ground for Caribou, it is important to note that the result of this movement is a sound which is still, definably Caribou. As with the best artists, this latest release exemplifies that Snaith can, time and again, expand his scope, try new things, and ultimately create an engaging, exciting piece of work which will undoubtedly only enlarge further his influence and reputation.

8/10

James Noble

James is listening to: ‘Left Hand Free’ – Alt-J

For more from Impact Music, check us out on Twitter

Categories
AlbumsMusic

Leave a Reply