Album Review: Caribou 'Our Love'

Jimmy Coultas gets to grips with the latest long player from Caribou.

Mike Warburton

Date published: 10th Oct 2014

Under the Caribou moniker, Dan Snaith’s career up until the monumental Swim in 2010 was a juxtaposition of a variety of genres, lurching from one musical movement to another before settling on the analogue wet dream born out of modern dance music that album proved to be.

It took him from being a name on the lips of hipster enthusiasts to the superclubs of Ibiza (his live show a season highlight of We Love in 2011) in a blissfully short period of time, and with Our Love (stream below on Spotify), the first Caribou long player in four years, it's clear that continuity is on the agenda.

This release owes much to the soundscapes, charm and personable nature which was imbued in every groove, synth and vocal snippet on its predecessor, but the slow evolution has allowed for this album to mine the trope of honesty, resulting in a record that feels very much like a quick glance into Snaith’s soul.

The fact he’s spent much of that Caribou exile on his dance music alter ego Daphni reigns true as well, this is a release even more influenced by the palette of clubland. In fact it's that journey into the recesses of repetition, gifting house and techno it's trance like powers which enables you to fall deeper into the Caribou pysche.

Album opener ‘Can’t Do Without You’ is an exquisite way to start proceedings, gently whirring from the off and looping the lyrical refrain of the title over and over till it almost loses meaning, before slowly building into a cacophony of noise as the melancholy mutates into utter joy.

It’s a masterful show of production ingenuity, combining all the dancefloor prowess of years of DJing and remixing with that keen creative ear, and it’s a record that will really come into its own in the live arena – for many it’s already been the euphoric statement of the summer of 2014.

From then on in it’s all about lurching from one feeling to another, with the differing caveats created from the beguiling emotion that is love – softer moments of tenderness, occasional lapses of anguish and doubt, and then the reassuring pang of euphoria.

The release attempts to grab each stab to the heart it brings and, for the most part, pulls it off with gusto, with Snaith’s vocal delivery, much more improved than previous recordings, stitching it together.

The yearning that underpins ‘Silver’ makes for a dreamy slab of whimsical shoegzae, whilst ‘All I Need’ cavorts positivity through its gargling chords, even with a slightly sinister gnarly bass lingering in the background hinting at the aggression that enveloped Snaith's career high point to date, Swim's beguiling 'Odessa' (above). ‘Mars’ is the album’s darkest moment, a tunnelling techno groove that eventually ploughs into an emotional abyss after the path is set via ominous jazz flutes.

The album’s title track manages to combine whirring stabs with a ravier overtone, and is clearly a grapple for a more accessible DJ led groove – it’s almost what Daft Punk might have sounded like had they gone for an old Altern 8 record instead of yacht rock and lascivious disco pre Random Access Memories. It’s probably not one for the purists, but that makes it sound no less delicious to these ears.

Then there’s the shorter tracks, the two minute bursts of ideas that string the rest together, the stark and woozy electronica of ‘Dive’ and the shuffling 'Julia Brightly', all synths bleating in and out of focus, sellotaped together by a skipping breakbeat. If anything you can always tell the quality of an album by the ideas that are used for the interludes and skits, and the confidence in allowing these two to develop fleetingly only intensifies the feeling this is a special release.

Any album of this nature needs time to embed itself into your feelings, but Our Love feels pretty much there already, a piece of work you can take on board for years to come. For all those interjected moments of melancholy, those occasional lapses into dampened spirits, the conclusion of listening to this release feels triumphant, the abstract euphoria of ‘Your love will set you free’ being an appropriate finale to a record that already feels like a cohesive classic.

You can see Caribou live opening the Liverpool Music Week 2014 at the Camp and Furnace on Thursday 23rd October - head here for Caribou tickets or follow the box below.

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