Bold, satisfying electro-pop
“I get a little bit Genghis Khan / I don’t want you to get it on / With nobody else but me” is a strong contender for most bizarre lyric of the year. Yet, Swedish electro-pop trio Miike Snow cuts a thin groove between laughable cheesiness and grating self-seriousness, turning “Genghis Khan” into a veritable earworm. The combination of slightly outlandish lyrics and undeniably catchy instrumentals propels much of Miike Snow’s aptly named third album, iii.
On iii, Miike Snow — singer Andrew Wyatt and producers Christian Karlsson and Pontus Winnberg — take on a sheen of bravado that elevates their relatively simple pop. Gone are the beach vibes and indie inclinations that dominated the trio’s prior two albums and previous hits, “Animal” and “Paddling Out.” Despite the lasting power of the group’s earlier work, it is still satisfying to hear them migrate to new approaches. iii sees Miike Snow leave the H&M dressing room circuit and make a serious charge for the club.
Wyatt’s signature falsetto, too, gets put to new use in iii’s opening track, “My Trigger.” “I saw you licking a dollar bill / I’m in the graveyard if looks could kill,” Wyatt warbles over a funky piano, bass and drumbeat. The same palpable swagger appears throughout the album, from the sample-friendly, brassy “Heart Is Full” to the booming, stuttering “For U,” which features English pop artist Charli XCX. While Miike Snow tries on a number of different tones successfully, iii does risk feeling like a haphazardly assembled project.
Miike Snow’s boldness on iii is a double-edged sword. Nearly every track on the album exhibits the same anthem-like qualities that bespeak the trio’s desire for hits. When this striving succeeds, the resulting tracks — “My Trigger,” “Genghis Khan,” “Heart Is Full” — are brilliant. Yet, thanks to the same desire, iii lacks a singular vision and a relatable emotional core.