Caribou review – Eye Weekly (8.16.07)

andorra-cover.jpg
Caribou
Andorra (Merge)

*****

From the clown car of musical possibility that is Dan Snaith’s head comes a breathtaking succession of sonic surprises on Caribou’s nine-song psychedelic masterpiece Andorra. In an orchestral overdose, the opening blast of cellos, sleigh bells, flutes and spastic, duelling drumbeats of “Melody Day” is like being shoved through the looking glass of an aural adventure in Wonderland. With a Brian Wilson-style bassline squirming under a wash of shimmering noise on “Sandy,” the a cappella vocal layering on the outro to “After Hours” and an abundance of sweet falsetto throughout, Andorra leans heavily on the Beach Boys as a point of reference. But the mutated doo-wop of “She’s the One” and melted-organ oscillation of “Irene” make for interesting new trails on that head-trip. And while “Sundialing” and epic electro-tease closer “Niobe” recall classic Caribou experiments, Andorra sees Snaith using his studio prowess and acid-damaged sensibilities to push his otherwise subdued songwriting to its catchiest peaks yet. Is it too early to start nominating for next year’s Polaris Prize?

Originally published in Eye Weekly 8.16.07.

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