Miike Snow - Happy To You
Thu 26th Apr, 2012 Music Reviewsin
Three years after their self-titled debut album, Miike Snow – comprising of Swedish lifelong friends Christian Karlsson and Pontus Winnberg alongside American songwriter Andrew Wyatt – have produced album number two, Happy To You.
Their first album was generally considered a success, and in between travelling across the globe – including twice to Australia – and blasting out the popular Animal from that album, they’ve found some time to piece together a second.
Their signature sound remains: electronic, indie-influenced, and at the very least, a sprinkling of pop. Given Karlsson and Winnberg have remixed and worked with the likes of Madonna, Kelis and Britney Spears, that last ingredient should hardly be a surprise. On the whole though, it works rather well.
The album kicks off with Enter the Joker’s Lair. The tracks opens up in analogue synth heaven, a chest-puffed announcement of the album’s arrival that despite grabbing attention, isn’t necessarily an indication of what’s to come. The Wave however, is: uplifting cheerful melodies, snare, piano, and vocals; all making for a very ‘pretty’ sound that dots the album’s landscape.
We glide into The Devil’s Work , in my opinion one of the albums highest points. Opening with melodic piano, it is met by a syncopating snare, and with nice emotion-filled build-ups scattered throughout, and not just because of the line “at the platform at Bondi station”, it is a thoroughly pleasant listen. But then, it gets even better, as a strong brass and strings climax adding to an already clever tune.
Vase is reminiscent of Love Cats from The Cure, but only briefly before we again move into a synth heavy electro-rock ballad of sorts, which while predictable at times, has lyrics that provide some tasty imagery. ”We were holding hands/in the garbage cans/believe me” . Lovely.
Scattered throughout the album are plenty of indelible dance hooks and grooves that will play out well at festivals. Listen to the album in isolation however, and one can’t help but feel that the ‘dance’ side of it is actually downplayed and allows the album to present itself as a far more serious offering. The music has been put together with care, and nowhere is that more obvious than in God Help This Divorce. Coming in at the mid point of the album, it offers us a darker side, with brooding melancholic beats probably as far away as possible from their previous offerings and what their sound is perhaps perceived to be. It illustrates a sense of maturity in their production that is promising, and arguably augurs well for the band’s longevity.
We then have the military drum rolls of the almost psychedelic but definitely warped Bavarian #1 (Say You Will) – before pausing for Pretender with the pleasantly wailing voice of Wyatt over a drum beat that is positively infectious, as so much of this album is. Upbeat, hip and happening, and yes, that sprinkling of pop – it makes for one of the party songs of the album, and together with the album ending Paddling Out is more typical of the sound that has made the trio popular on the international festival circuit.
All up, the album is an overwhelmingly positive release, while stopping short of being amazing. As a sophomore offering, the lads should be applauded for it. Best played on a lazy Sunday afternoon or similarly, a chilled candlelit Wednesday evening, or hell, maybe even at a festival, they’ve made for a thoroughly enjoyable experience overall.
Happy To You is out now on Downtown/Universal Republic.