So, I still haven’t made any New Years resolutions. Or, for that matter, entirely admitted that I’m back at school…maybe I’m lagging a little behind, but time is flying by, luckily bringing with it an upsweep of glorious music. Right now what I’m digging the most is also a little behind the current times: Caribou’s 2010 album Swim, which takes me to new levels of electronic bliss. It’s upbeat, but still atmospheric: the beats are basic but never feel sparse, and are rounded out with layers of synthesizers and crooning vocals.
Daniel Snaith, the wizard behind Caribou, builds his songs from an eclectic array of sounds; “Bowls” samples the coppery twang of metal bowls over a deep, crawling bassline. I can hardly stop myself from blasting “Odessa,” the thumping, undeniable first track, at least 5 times a day (the only reason why I might restrain myself is out of consideration for the people who live next to me). In all the commotion of a new semester, Swim feels perfectly balanced. It’s fast-paced but not overwhelming: while it doesn’t feel like a racing vortex of drums and synthesizer, it is rhythmic and captivating. The whole album has a textural sound that never feels too cluttered, but is just weird enough to sustain your interest. I’m not usually a big fan of instrumental music, but I find myself so lost in Swim that I fail to notice which tracks have words and which don’t. Basically, this album is the perfect start to a semester—it’s engaging when you need to crack down and actually get work done, but it’s totally danceable when you need to take a break and release all that school-induced angst…I mean, not like I have any of that.
Review by Julia MacNelly