Caribou – Swim

A fairly remarkable record

Has somebody slipped the folktronica community a mickey? Hot on the heels of Four Tet discovering his inner techno-producer, and Bibio abandoning acoustic doodlings for funk, Caribou is also apparently ready for the floor.

Hence ‘Odessa’, the bouncy five-minute opener to ‘Swim’. It could be a Hot Chip tune, albeit one fronted by Erlend Øye, and with a sampled guitar scratch that sounds absolutely demonic. It’s ace; a confident and insistently funky single that, while not as original as some of producer Dan Snaith’s previous work, is a hell of a lot more fun. It’s swiftly followed up by ‘Sun’ – all warbling, bleached out synth and the repeated mantra “sun, sun, sun” building into a hypnotic psych groove. It’s not a total reboot. Snaith’s penchant for awkward, unwieldy sounds is still present and correct.

‘Kaili’, the one bum track on the album, ends in an unfortunate free-jazz wig out that’s neither truly jazzy or wiggy enough to sound like anything other than a horrible racket. Likewise, Snaith’s vocals aren’t always quite up to snuff. But when he pulls it all together on the Arthur Russell disco of ‘Found Out’, or the shifty groove of ‘Leave House’, this is glorious stuff. Nice sleigh bell work on the former too! Closing track ‘Jamelia’ is the most ambitious of the lot, with an innocuous electronic backing that spins off into psychedelic synth whorls, and a soaring guest vocal from Born Ruffians’ Luke Lalonde.

It’s a remarkable finish to a fairly remarkable record. While no single track quite matches Four Tet’s ‘Love Cry’, it’s as good overall as his contemporary’s recent ‘There Is Love In You’. Five albums and numerous aliases in, Dan Snaith has found a guise that suits him perfectly.


Words by Will Salmon

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