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Caribou: Our Love

This is an ambitious, confident, and beautiful album from one of the best producers on the scene.  Dan Snaith settled into the electronic and dance music scene with his previous two albums, Swim and Andorra.  Before that, Snaith spent time exploring almost every genre thinkable.  Our Love is the result of a synthesis of his entire career, combining elements of orchestral, instrumental, and dance music into a sweeping, mature, and incredibly well produced inspection of love and relationships.  This is an extremely personal album, introspective, intimate, intriguing, and joyful.  Our Love encompasses the incredible highs and the devastating lows of the entanglement of two lives authentically and entirely.

The constantly changing and evolving nature of these relationships is reflected in this album’s, and by extension, Snaith’s relationship with dance music.  Our Love could be generally described as dance music, but that label isn’t quite right for what it really is.  Snaith has a wealth of experience in the field, and it really shows here.  He is able to warp and manipulate his ethereal, largely digital soundscapes in a way that makes you want to dance and then makes you think about why you are dancing after you settle in.  “Can’t Do Without You” and “Back Home” are great examples of this. “Julia Brightly” and “Mars” bring some more conventional dance tracks, although they’re still weird and quirky in their own right.

The title track brings everything together.  It starts off with a looping “Our Love” over simple bass and kicks.  It builds slowly and becomes more complex, incorporating new rhythmic features and melodies.  It soon breaks into a deep and pounding bassline, complex, depressed, and intense.  This builds into beautiful, sweeping synths and the return of syncopated beats that bring life back into the track, finally climaxing in a combination of everything that came before.  The song finally dies out with a return of the “Our Love” loop over the pounding bass.  If a song could encompass a lifelong relationship in 5 minutes, this would be the song.

Snaith’s wealth of collaborators and mentors allows him to take an artistic idea and really run with it.  Owen Pallett’s arrangements create wondrous backdrops for Snaith’s unique production style.  Jessy Lanza’s swirling vocals on “Second Chance” give a fresh and different insight into the theme of the album.

The best thing about this album is how varied it is.  Every track brings something different and new while still being done to an extremely high standard.  I was never bored while listening to this album.  Not only did it keep my attention, but it spoke deeply, personally, and truthfully about its central theme:  The nature of loving relationships that last a lifetime.

Recommended if you like: Bibio, Chaim, Aphex Twin, Lapalux, and Purity Ring

Recommended tracks: “Our Love,” “Can’t Do Without You,” “Back Home,” and “Second Chance”

Reviewed by Addison McDaniel on October 16, 2014