Words About Music
Caribou “Our Love”
Few people do what Dan Snaith does as well as he does it. Throughout his decade-plus career across a few different monikers, he’s accomplished quite a bit in the worlds of electronic dance music, psychedelic music, and pop. These genres have been fused the most elegantly in his critically acclaimed Caribou project, though you can see bits and pieces of that in Manitoba and Daphni, two other projects of his. “Our Love” is the fourth album from Caribou, coming four years after the very highly acclaimed “Swim,” an album that would be very difficult to follow up. On this album, Snaith employs the help of similarly acclaimed Canadian artists Jessy Lanza and Owen Pallett. The result is a simpler album with many refreshing tones and grooves, but it lacks some nameless factor that keeps me from fully loving it.
As a few critics have pointed out, as good as “Our Love” is stylistically and texturally, it feels slightly underwhelming. I’m not one to complain that an album is too short, but I can think of multiple instances on “Our Love” where I feel like Snaith could have done so much more with a song to make it more dynamic and more interesting, whereas other songs felt like they dragged on for too long. For example, the tracks “Dive” and “Julia Brightly” present some of the best ideas that “Our Love” has to offer, but each of those tracks is only two minutes. Just when it feels like they’re going to build into something great, they just kind of end. Also, the second half of this album in general sort of lags behind the superior first half. I can’t really think of a bad moment on the first half of “Our Love,” but I can’t seem to recall a single moment in general off the second half.
Complaints aside, “Our Love” is a good album in comparison to a lot of electronically-tinged albums you’ll hear this year. A lot of artists are focusing on darker tones and atmospheres, but Caribou’s music is unashamedly positive and hypnotic. Say what you will about this album in particular, it’s got a very defined aesthetic that stands in direct contrast to what is currently fashionable and trendy. While I’m in the minority of people who aren’t totally floored by this album, I do think that what Caribou does and always has done is really great and refreshing. You can only have so may Weeknds and Bankses before things get boring.
All told, I still have faith in the Snaith. Caribou is a project I’ve followed for a couple years and I’m going to continue to follow. I do think that the project’s previous albums are superior to “Our Love,” but I do think that the best is still upon us. Consider it just a blip in Snaith’s discography, and we’ll all move on. A slight disappointment, but it is something refreshing and fun to hear in 2014.
SCORE – 7.1
FAVORITE TRACKS – Can’t Do Without You, Silver, All I Ever Need, Our Love, Dive, Julia Brightly, Your Love Will Set You Free