sat 19/09/2020

CD: Caribou - Suddenly | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Caribou - Suddenly

CD: Caribou - Suddenly

The Canadian psyche-pop genre fuser further hones his craft

Around the turn of the millennium, when Dan Snaith started releasing music – initially as Manitoba, then Caribou, and latterly also Daphni – he tended to get lumped in with the folktronica movement. In fact, the closest he came to actual folk was a heavy influence from the more delicate side of late 60s psychedelia.

Around the turn of the millennium, when Dan Snaith started releasing music – initially as Manitoba, then Caribou, and latterly also Daphni – he tended to get lumped in with the folktronica movement. In fact, the closest he came to actual folk was a heavy influence from the more delicate side of late 60s psychedelia. But, as with many of the other acts tagged with the f-word like his friend and ally Kieran “Four Tet” Hebden, it was really a clumsy signifier for people who were refusing to accept the artificial separation between “electronic music” and the rest which had become reified with the rise of Nineties dance culture – and also gestured towards a “crate digger's” diversity of taste and influence.

In the intervening years, the mainstream has gradually moved towards Snaith's way of thinking – accessibility of powerful electronic production tools have massively blurred boundaries, and the infinite availability of global and historical sounds makes crate diggers of us all. And Snaith has moved closer towards the mainstream, as refinement of his techniques and ever more festival-pleasing live shows make his fusions ever bigger, bolder and more accessible. So on the seventh Caribou album proper: here, 21st century radio pop and big club sounds, Sixties soul, Eighties avant-disco, hip hop, wonky electronica, and that good old-time psychedelia all weave into one another with extrarodinary ease, and big shiny production values to boot.

Mutability seems to be an over-arching theme here. Not only do styles morph into one another – as in the Arthur Russell-like song “You and I” unexpectedly and seamlessly becoming a post-EDM US festival half-tempo groover, or the way “Home” incorporates chunks of northern soul favourite Gloria Barnes's song of the same name into Snaith's own songwriting – but samples and tones speed up and slow down as if woozy or melting. And lyrically, all is change: beautifully abstracted themes of loss, departure, return and irreversible alteration form simple couplets that even on first listen tug naggingly at the heartstrings like you've known them for years. From so many distinct elements, to create something so coherent and so individual is quite some achievement. Dan Snaith's unique craft has been well honed.

@joemuggs

Watch "You and I":

Styles morph into one another and samples and tones speed up and slow down as if woozy or melting

rating

Editor Rating: 
5
Average: 5 (1 vote)

Share this article

Add comment

newsletter

Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters