Thursday, October 7, 2010

Miike Snow (2009) Album Review

I was familiar with this band's name long before I heard any of their music.  The first time I did though was in an unusual way for me - inside a video game.  That video game would be NBA 2K10, and the song would be "Black & Blue".

I've been listening to the album since.  So this is electro pop.  I actually expected something as fast-paced as "Black & Blue", or something I used to associate with the word.  ELECTRO... ELECTRO... I don't really follow the genre much, but when I think of that word "electro", I think electricity.  Heavy synths.  Huge beats.  Neural shocks.  Gigantic headaches.  I'm not even sure if this is any kind of electro at all.  While there's a fair amount of synths present on the album, there weren't any headaches whatsoever when listening to it, nor did I expect it to be the way it is.

This is a pretty chill record actually.

The songs have obvious pop sensibilities, songs that make you sing once you figure out what the singer is saying.  But what makes them shine so brightly are the subtle sounds sprinkled throughout the record, brilliantly added and placed in the songs.  I call these moments moments (pun).

Miike Snow (covered in snow)
An example would be the chimey keys to the intro of "Burial".  Another would be the nintendo-esque sounds that immediately follow after singer Andrew Wyatt's first "ssssiiiiillllvvvviaaaaa" in the final part of the song "Silvia".  Actually there are a couple of amazing moments to that song, and it's probably the best song on the album.

"Sans Soleil" is another of my favorites that has a kind of uniform samba or rhumba beat throughout (sorry if I'm wrong, but as a child they're the preset beats I recognize from an old Yamaha keyboard my father had).  The weaving in and out of the vocals is the final piece that makes this such a beautiful song to listen to.  "Hard. You make it hard. Hard."  Yep.  That's what she said.  But while it's kind of a humorous read, it's entirely magical when heard from the song.  Trust me.

Then there's "Cult Logic".  Downtempo disco updated and probably at its best, hearkening back to disco radio in the late 80s.  (Seriously, I do not know what the hell I'm talking about.  Just trying to pick up the pieces of what I thought I heard as a child).  It's one of those songs that make you smile while hearing it from afar- thinking "yep, that's my song.  And damn, does it sound so good".

A low point in the album for me would be "A Horse is not a Home".  There's something wrong with the title and the way the music was constructed in order for those words to be sung.  It just doesn't work.  It's a metaphor, alright.  But it still doesn't work.  Well, maybe for some people, but not for me.

All in all, it's the first album of its kind that I thoroughly enjoyed.  One thing is for sure- I won't back down from searching a remedy for the bones I broke.  Nyahaha.

My score:
8 out of 10

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