Caribou – Swim

August 19th, 2010
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Everybody in the Pool

In interviews leading up to the release of his latest and possibly greatest release as Caribou, Dan Snaith asserted that he drew inspiration from water and learning to swim, wanting to create more fluid and danceable textures. Mission accomplished. A far cry from his masterful, sunny ’60s influenced predecessor Andorra, Swim finds Snaith bathing comfortably and confidently in the nocturnal now.

Trading a Beach Boys sound for a Junior Boys sound may seem a questionable move on Snaith’s part at first. Such an abrupt shift in time period of sound could leave listeners with sonic jet lag and turn them off. Fortunately, Caribou is smart enough to ease into the fresh water gently, dabbing his feet across the surface of the late ’80s avant disco of Arthur Russell along the way. On opener “Odessa,” one wouldn’t be blamed for mistaking Snaith’s singing for Russell’s back in his Larry Levan-produced peak. The squawking synth refrain and pogo-ing, programmed percussion that accompany it, meanwhile, would be right at home on any dance floor, regardless of decade.

More contemporary electronic references can be heard on subsequent tracks like “Sun,” whose hypnotic repetition of the title effectively echoes Euro-techno, and “Bowls,” which nearly beats the recently resurgent Pantha du Prince at his own game. Snaith even takes time to ever so subtly recall his Andorra work, with a lovely flute line in “Leave House” that reminds listeners of where he has been without dwelling there for too long.

Like that album, however, the best is saved for last. “Jamelia” is an almost achingly beautiful slow-burner featuring Born Ruffian’s Luke Lalonde on vocals. The midsong crescendo of screams both vocal and electronic offers a well-earned catharsis after the prior patient pacing.

At another economical nine songs in 43 minutes, Caribou has produced another all killer/no filler stunner with Swim that will leave listeners wanting more. All you’ll want to do after taking this swim is dive back in again and let the songs envelope and refresh anew. You won’t even need a towel.

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By Robert Huff Posted in High Fidelity, Reviews ,

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Caribou – Swim

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