5. Caribou – Our Love
“The primary impulse on this record was to make something that was generous in the sense that it was for everybody, not just for me locked in a studio by myself,” said Dan Snaith (better known as Caribou) during press meet-ups leading to the release of his seventh studio album, Our Love. This pop focus comes on the heels (albeit a couple years removed) of the funky patchwork of Jiaolong, the first Snaith release via his Daphni moniker. As Daphni, emotions and stories were tertiary to the sample-heavy energy of the collection, a disc intended for left-field clubland. Our Love balances that after-hours hedonism with the poignant interpersonal wanderings of his earlier work, perfecting a unique vernacular that bridges underground techno with heartfelt indie pop.
Like the brothers Lawrence (of Disclosure fame), Snaith explores a fascination with reformulating favorite underground UK dance sounds. Album opener “Can’t Do Without You” commences with a slow-building garage melody, an energy that reaches spiraling heights during the jittery “Julia Brightly” and “Your Love Will Set You Free”. Post-dubstep then serves as the platform for the tortured echoes of “All I Ever Need”. Akin to new romance, these familiarities build a level of comfort with the track, but it is the wonky eccentricities that urge repeat visits. There is an uncontested ease with which Snaith intertwines these one-off melodies into the album’s prevailing tech-house, a definitive Caribou fingerprint that is both weightless and innocent yet anxiously psychedelic. Now that everyone is racing to the top of the Beatport charts with identical arrangements, Snaith hones in on the honesty of his compositions.
As the world goes electronic, artists must work even harder to maintain the humanity that brings so many people together through music. Our Love is proof that artists can adopt timeless dance floor tactics without losing themselves in the hysteria. –Derek Staples