Dan Snaith, aka Caribou, has always been a man stuck in the past. He has mined the depths of history in hopes of discovering something new to show us. For the most part he has succeeded, but only in bits and pieces, as seen in the â€šÃ„Ã²70s krautrock instrumentals of The Milk of Human Kindness or the big beat breakdowns of Up in Flames. His albums have always been immaculately conceived but emotionally stagnant: easy to appreciate but not to love. With Andorra, Snaith has finally woven these shards of inspiration into a breathtakingly cohesive whole.This success partly rests in Caribouâ€šÃ„Ã´s improved confidence in and reliance on singing and songwriting. Back in his Manitoba days, Snaith treated his voice as simply another variable to be factored into the sonic equation: here it plays a far more necessary, human role.
For the first time, Snaith fully embraces what truly made 60s psych-pop so memorable: the melodies. He blends this melody with modern electronica on songs like near-perfect opener â€šÃ„ÃºMelody Day.â€šÃ„Ã¹ Marrying a gorgeous melancholy lyric to chaotically programmed percussion, it soars higher and brighter than anything in Snaithâ€šÃ„Ã´s back catalogue. â€šÃ„ÃºMelody Day, what have I done,â€šÃ„Ã¹ indeed.
ame Nothing else on the album quite achieves this same high, though the Pet Sounding â€šÃ„ÃºSandyâ€šÃ„Ã¹ and string-led â€šÃ„ÃºDesireeâ€šÃ„Ã¹ come very close. But even when Andorra revisits Caribouâ€šÃ„Ã´s roots, it still sounds better than anything heâ€šÃ„Ã´s ever done. Wilco could learn a thing or two from â€šÃ„ÃºEliâ€šÃ„Ã´sâ€šÃ„Ã¹ blend of grit and gloss while the pulsing â€šÃ„ÃºNiobeâ€šÃ„Ã¹ is one crescendo away from being a DFA seven-inch. At only nine songs, Snaith leaves no room for filler, but who can fault an artist for running out of songs before he runs out of ideas?
And hereâ€šÃ„Ã´s hoping there are more to spare. As he describes in â€šÃ„ÃºSandy,â€šÃ„Ã¹ â€šÃ„ÃºSometimes in her eyes I see forever. I can’t believe what we’ve found.â€šÃ„Ã¹ Neither can we. Whatever it is about this Sandyâ€šÃ„Ã´s eyes Dan, keep looking. Please.