Thursday, September 20, 2007

Caribou - Andorra

Caribou, "She's The One" (YSI link)

I'm excited to finally post about Caribou and their new album, Andorra. I've had this one for a few weeks and it's gorgeous, 60s-inspired pop continues to grow on me with each listen. Caribou is really Dan Snaith, who has been behind all six albums releases as both Caribou and the previous band name, Manitoba. I first caught Manitoba in the upstairs of the Trocadero a few years ago, opening for Junior Boys (or was it the other way around?). I can't remember who I went with or much about Manitoba, but he has my attention now.

Andorra is the first release on the Merge label and it continues to see the band leave behind any remnants of the IDM/electronic sound that they started out with. Snaith seems to be most inspired by that 60s psychedelic pop sound, which was simultaneously catchy yet grandiose, rock'n'roll yet orchestral. Since I'm not knowledgeable about the bands of the era, I'll just mention the Brian Wilson-era Beach Boys, as that was who immediately sprung to mind. Made entirely at his home studio, Snaith also seems to have inherited that experimental nature in the studio that so many of the bands of that era had. Like for the Grateful Dead, say, the studio was this amazing playground where you could fuck around and try the impossible, make the machines work for you. Andorra features multitracked drums and vocals throughout, little sounds bubbling up in the mix, it's clear that dude held nothing back.

What I love most of all is probably the least consequential part, Snaith's falsetto vocals. I'm not sure why I love them so much, I guess because they are so unique and, in a way, gusty, as not a lot of guys are ready to make an album featuring them singing in an unnaturally high voice. It doesn't seem forced, really the opposite, as he sings with confidence. I actually loved the final paragraph (actually the whole review) of this review by Nate Door at PopMatters, as he's got interesting thoughts on Snaith's vocals. He's right, they really are crafted to fit the music; I actually would love to hear the vocals exert more attitude, see them become a more dominant force. "She's The One" is my favorite track on the album and I feel like it's the one where the vocals and lyrics take center stage. I love the melancholy and longing present in both, would love to see future releases go this direction. "Sandy" is a great example of the exuberant pop music on the album, this one featuring what seems like a whole chorus singing back-up.

This one's highly recommended, a great, focused album that sounds like little else out there today. Buy your copy here, it's a good bet that this will end up on some best of the year lists come December.

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