Fresh from a spree of club detours as Daphni, Dan Snaith a.k.a. Caribou will soon be back with Suddenly, his first album in over 5 years.
Its pre-release singles are a return to full-blown songwriting, nostalgic of the folktronic moods of his earlier albums Andorra and The Milk of Human Kindness.
A no-more, no-less production style dominates ‘You and I’, echoing Daft Punk’s ‘Instant Crush’ but with a kind of non ornamental mock-honesty. Boxy reverb, dub effects, extra warmth; a standard Caribou affair. Snaith sings of love and attachment, but the third verse (“You can take your place up in the sky // I will find a way to get it on down here”) reveals a hidden grief.
According to Snaith, a major change in his life influenced the album, and it’s refreshing to hear this reflected in the song. During the chorus, for example, a kind of new-wavey synth breakdown fused with trap, completely alien to the verse, comes immediately after a gut-punch drum fill, like a surge of inspiration after a sudden but difficult life transition. Then Skrillex seems to show up (but not literally), with some glitchy chopped-up vocals appearing before the song’s climax. Living up to the name Suddenly, this does jar the mood a bit, but it at least adds a bit more radio-friendliness to an already impressive song.
‘Home’ is closer to the plunderphonics-pop style re-popularised by Snaith’s friend Jamie xx, capitalising on the trend of sampling ‘70s soul 7-inches. This time, though, it’s ‘Home’ by Gloria Barnes. Lyrics are less prominent on this track, and instead, the usual vogue of record-skipping nostalgia takes full effect. While ‘Home’ does suffer from some of the same trappings as ‘lo-fi study/chill beats to relax to’, its exceptional production value sort of makes up for this.
Abandoning the rapture of former singles like ‘Sun’ in favour of a more homely “chill” approach, here’s hoping Suddenly will fulfil the hype as one of Caribou’s more personal projects.
Jude Iago James