"Swim" by Caribou

Caribou
Swim

Merge Records
2010

Review

You know how in the movies whenever people are underwater things just seem a bit slower? Well, the feeling I got when listening to "Swim" by Caribou was one of dancing underwater. It was like the music was definitely made to dance to, but it's distorted just so and filtered through a watery haze. Yes, it does indeed continue to be a good year for weird Electronic Music.

Sun, sun, sun, sun, sun, sun, sun...
- Caribou on "Sun"

This is my first experience with Caribou, and I have to tell that I found it quite enjoyable. This is high-energy electronic music, minus the high-energy part - if that makes any sense at all (maybe it doesn't, just listen to a few preview tracks and maybe it will). Let's try this again...you know how some techno songs have a really cool intro just before the beat gets really annoying and repetitive? Ok, good...now, imagine that instead of getting annoying and repetitive, it got more layered and bit by esoteric bit just a little more interesting. That's what you get here.

The two tracks that bookend the album are by far the best. "Odessa" sounds like it was recorded by standing outside a noisy club and hitting "record" - at least for the background sounds - and then a sort of catchy, quiet pop-song was layered over it...oh, and then a funk band walks by too. "Jamelia" is by far my favorite track on the album. There's a quiet energy to the song that is misleading since this song turns full-on alternative electronic pop-song towards the end. The vocal performance here is surprisingly strong and actually very reminiscent of a 80's pop-song (there's a part that made me think of a George Michael song). In fact, I found myself wishing that there were more vocals on many of the songs due to the strength of the performances. Also of note is the extremely funky "Leave House", and it too has very strong vocals.

At only nine tracks, it is a bit short. However, what is here is very high-quality electronic music with a pop feel (appeal) to it. In fact, this whole record could be a B-Side to the recent LCD Soundsystem release. It's like an electronic concert after-hours soundtrack.

4.000 out of 5

Track Ratings

1. Odessa (05:15)
2. Sun (05:44)
3. Kaili (04:42)
4. Found Out (03:18)
5. Bowls (06:21)
6. Leave House (05:12)
7. Hannibal (06:15)
8. Lalibela (02:25)
9. Jamelia (03:58)