In the brilliantly bonkers music video for single ‘Genghis Khan’, the appeal of Swedish indie pop trio Miike Snow really translates. A parody of classic ‘60s spy thrillers, it depicts a despicable Dr. No-esque super villain who, after a surprising moment of indecision, falls in love with the would-be hero he has taken hostage. It’s this sort of outlandish humour that has made the group both undeniably cool and pretty difficult to dislike. The track itself is typically swaggering and outrageously catchy, wryly using the former emperor of the Mongol Empire as a metaphor for a jealous lover in an abusive relationship.
Elsewhere on the band’s latest album, the not-so-cleverly titled ‘iii’, is for the most part very much what you would expect by now from Miike Snow. ‘My Trigger’s thick piano chords are underpinned by a vicious hip-hop groove and Andrew Wyatt’s distinctive but sparingly used falsetto. There’s plenty of their trademark blend of playful indietronica and just the right amount of menace as showcased on ‘Back Of The Car’ and its superb chorus. With a running time of well under 40 minutes, it’s also the ‘Toxic’ hitmaker’s shortest outing by some distance.
Unfortunately, there are moments where ‘iii’ desperately lacks the killer pop instincts of their 2009 debut and the rich songwriting of ‘Happy To You’. Too often, Wyatt’s tremendous, icy cool vocals suffer from modulation overkill. A similar thing can be said for the album’s overall production which, in places sounds unnecessarily loaded with layer upon layer of overdubs and synthesisers, with the Charli XCX-assisted ‘For U’ being one of the prime culprits. ‘Heart Is Full’ feels particularly contrived and the uninspired use of the Marlena Shaw sample doesn’t add anything either.
That being said, closer ‘Long Shot (7 Nights)’ is excellent. Featuring a gracious string hook that wouldn’t sound too out of place on a latter day Elbow or Band of Horses record, it’s the most considered and pared down track on here. Ultimately though, it remains a fun and enjoyable pop record, even if its creators do seem more reluctant than ever to venture from their well established comfort zones.
Words: Luke Winstanley
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