Sunday, October 18, 2009

Andorra - Caribou (#4, 2007)

"Twirl things around us,
And the shadows they left as they found us,
Or running fingers through your hair" - Sandy

"Melody Day" from Andorra (2007)

I'm really not much of a Beach Boys fan, at all. And my taste in synthesized music is pretty narrow too. So, how did two albums of Wilsonian electronica invade my 2007 Top Ten?! Mainly by making it more modern and twisted up, and by bringing the quality. Andorra by Caribou typically ran behind in critical comparisons (by a wide margin), but I prefer it over the consensus pick.

First some history: once, there was Manitoba. I saw them open for some long-forgotten headliner at Mary Jane's (RIP). They were great! Electronic but sort of band-type music, not exactly rock but not dance music either. Then jerk "Handsome" Dick Manitoba sued, because apparently he thought he invented the word Manitoba (he didn't). Being Canadian, Dan Snaith dropped some acid and was reborn. Anyway, 3 years ago I made this YouTube playlist, which contains most of Manitoba's spectacular Up In Flames (2003). And is basically the live backdrop visuals from the show I saw, released on the Caribou Marino dvd (2005).

Caribou Live
Okay, back to the new album. This one has a more clear pop sensibility than Manitoba, but it's still beatier than even Dungen. Not in a techno/dance-beat way, more like a digital Animal (from The Muppets). Each song features some sunny vocal melodies, shining waves of soaring music, usually along with some guitar or other accompaniment. "Melody Day" [at top] is followed by more girl-crazy glory: sing-songy fluting "Sandy," almost early-Floydian "After Hours" then "She's the One"...

Not enough songs about knowing how someone's bad for you, and probably just a terrible person, but still helpless not to love her. This one, Bill Withers' great "Use Me," what else? The chorus really sells the hopelessly-in-love feel, like the great pop music of yore. Then there's yet another song about a girl, "Desiree." I'm going to embed the Pink Room video of "Eli," the most guitarry one. Here's all of the official Caribou YouTubes, which includes many songs performed live in the Pink Room. Great audio quality for internet live recordings!!

And then three final songs, which are all with similar grooviness:
"Sundialing" (live and noisier), "Irene" (official video), and "Niobe" (epic, more electro). Like I said, lots of quality! If it would be your kind of thing, there's also a BBC mini-documentary on Andorra.

That should be enough to get started with the Caribou...

Official/Myspace -
Purchase - Merge Records
iTunes - Caribou

Genre - Electronic Psych Pop
Review - Stylus Magazine

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