Caribou – Swim

January 01, 1970

(Merge)

 

www.mergerecords.com

 

If Dan Snaith’s new indie-electronic record – his third
under the Caribou moniker – initially sounds a little less complex, a little
more superficial than his previous albums, that’s probably by design.  Having shown formidable editing and intuitive
skills from his earliest release in 2000, Snaith’s established himself as a
talented manipulator of beats and melodic progressions.  For Swim,
he seems to be moving inside his own head, inside the clubs.  This is the first Caribou record that would
sound completely at home being spun from the booth over the dance floor – it’s
trancier, dancier, more solidly rooted in loop and repetition than any previous
Caribou release.  That said, for a
clubbish album, it’s got a lot of bright moments, mostly on the tracks where
Snaith indulges his impulse to trick out the music with quick changes and
unique layers which come to the fore in sequence – voice, keys, beats all
taking turns, and the beat occasionally dropping out altogether, as on “Kaili,”
one of Swim‘s most complex and
interesting cuts.

 

The album’s most interesting, that is, when it stops doing
what it does for most of its length and tries an experiment, which invariably
pays off.  That makes for a fine club
album – an excellent one, really. 
Whether Swim is a fine Caribou
album is another question, since it feels rather like a busman’s holiday for
Dan Snaith, the sort of thing he can do intuitively and easily.  Still, can you bust a genuine talent for
engaging in a stretch-out exercise for his own enjoyment?  Probably not. 
Miles Davis didn’t drop Bitches
Brew
every time, after all.  And
anyway, Swim is a solid record on its
own merits.  Oh, to hell with it.  Let’s dance.

 

Standout Tracks: “Kaili,”
“Bowls” ERIC WAGGONER

 

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