“I don’t try and keep them separate,” Daniel Snaith explains of his solo music project, Caribou, and his DJ alter ego, Daphni. Amid his most recent work– a product of the former alias– the line between the two has never been grayer.
Out on Tuesday, October 7th, Caribou’s Our Love is a cosmic journey of a lovelorn narrator packed with wobbling synthesizers, dance-floor samples, Snaith’s breathy heartfelt vocals and even a violin or two.
His sixth studio album to date isn’t a tale of shared adoration between two people, but much more encompassing. Daniel draws upon inspiration from different friendships (including collaborators, Owen Pallet and Jessy Lanza) and more prominently the relationship with his wife and three year old daughter.
In real life, love is fragile, precious. Highs and lows, romance and tumult, reverence and insecurity; Our Love paints vibrant soundscapes of a man deep in love and petrified at the thought of losing it all, universally reflective of each listener’s own unique experiences with that special four letter word.
The opening track and first single, “Can’t Do Without You,” is an underwater, reverberated synth-odyssey with Snaith reiterating the title over and over again until the words have almost lost meaning. The phrase, “loving someone so much it hurts,” comes to mind throughout the album and here it especially drips with that sentiment. The engrossing and even obsessive tendencies associated with love and infatuation are revealed at its climax as Snaith melodically whispers, “and you’re the only thing I think about.”
Oscillating synthesizers, quick-cut samples, tight digital percussion, and earnest croons shape the next track, “Silver,” while the following finds the narrator on the defense. “I can’t take it/ the way you treat me wrong/ It’s not right, girl/ There’s something going on,” Snaith painfully snaps back at a mistreating partner on the bouncy and building “All I Ever Need.” The song’s own complex structure mirrors the intricacies of our every day relationships: forgetting about the stalemates, the trivial disagreements and remembering and honoring what’s cherished most.
Dancefloor anthems “Julia Brightly” and the expansive “Mars” would sound right at home on 2012’s Daphni record, Jialong– with the latter boasting a flute sample that would make Jethro Tull blush. Our Love’s title track continues the ever-present underwater, oceanic aesthetic, coalesced with magnetic string arrangements courtesy of Owen Pallet. At its midpoint, distorted vocals and building chords melt and diffuse into a spacey and aqueous percussive breakdown.
Lanza possesses good enough vocal capability yet the song’s verse and harmonies, provided by Lanza herself, feel a bit commercially contrived and out of place amongst the rest of Caribous’ sincerely artistic sea of meticulousness.
Unlike most traditional albums, much of this work illuminates its themes via beautiful floods of melody and rhythm. Coincidentally enough, Snaith’s lyrics have never been more straightforward than they are this time around; yet it’s almost impossible for a listener to resist submersion down into Caribou’s aquatic lovesick instrumental fantasy.
Our Love carousels through triumph and loss, heartbreak and hope, transcending from a story simply about a man and his family to a wider scope of what love is, how we attain it, and most importantly, how we keep it alive.
(Photo courtesy of reviler)