Review : Miike Snow - Happy To You
PitchforkIf you could break up a band's music into its constituent pieces, what would be the most important part? Is it the production, the quality, or inventiveness of the sonics? Or would it be the singing and the presence of the frontman? How about the lyrics and their ability to convey emotion? Since we all hear music differently, this is an impossible question, but it's an interesting exercise when it comes to Miike Snow. Because the Swedish trio, who are known for an electronic take on springy indie pop, are really good at some things and not so great at others. They're lopsided.
The first thing to consider when talking about these guys is their studio ability. Each of the three members has ample experience behind the decks, and two of them, Christian Karlsson and Pontus Winnburg, comprise the hitmaking production duo Bloodshy & Avant. They were responsible for Britney Spears' irrefutable "Toxic", her nearly-as-good recent single "How I Roll", and various cuts for Kelis and Kylie Minogue. Point being, they know how to make stuff sound good. And a lot of the music on Happy To You, their second full-length, sounds excellent. Beats sparkle, synths crest and unfurl with purpose, horns come in at just exact right moment. The foundation is strong....full text
GuardianThe first album by Swedish-American production trio Miike Snow reached No 59 in the UK in 2009, and received mixed reviews, so the followup might not be quite the "highly anticipated" event their label claims it is. It does, however, exemplify the enjoyable glossiness that experienced backroom types (as Bloodshy & Avant, Swedish members Christian Karlsson and Pontus Winnberg were responsible for Britney Spears's Toxic) can bring to the over-subscribed electropop genre. A martial beat, contrastingly languid vocals and a snaggy hookline give The Wave a toothsome kick, and what follows is catchier still. Paddling Out's allure pivots on rollicking house piano and attendant early-90s euphoria, while God Help This Divorce packages together arch, MGMTish falsetto vocals and a gentle folk lilt to booty-twitching effect. Surprisingly, a bit of murmuring from the usually interesting Lykke Li doesn't bring much to Black Tin Box; what makes the track is the spiralling synth line that gives the impression the studio is under siege by aliens. Meanwhile, Miike Snow themselves remain faceless – but they've made a diverting record....full text
AvclubIt’s useful to remember that Miike Snow is slumming it. Not because a trio of Stockholm-based studio super-producers shouldn’t have something to call their own—in this case, an electronically powered indie-pop outfit—but because the band itself never forgets this fact. Christian Karlsson and Pontus Winnberg, a.k.a. Bloodshy And Avant, are men capable of extraordinary things, of writing chart hits that woo critics and win Grammys, of giving us the patently unexpected gift that was Britney Spears’ “Toxic.” And their partner Andrew Wyatt, the voice of Miike Snow, hails from Mark Ronson’s camp. Words like “restraint” shouldn’t apply to anything these three touch, yet even after touring the world behind 2009’s Miike Snow, they ostensibly refuse to deliver an album that matches the immediacy of their breakout single, “Animal.”
Happy To You begins promisingly, with thick, wobbly synths, chiming keys, and an irrepressible Balearic beat. Despite the goofy name, “Enter The Joker’s Lair” is smart and enticing, like a pumped-up and spit-shined collaboration between the Books and Battles. “The Wave” follows, riding atop a steamroller of percussion— handclaps, marching snares, heavy piano hits—and though Wyatt’s vocals recall a sad-faced Peter Gabriel, the song is steeped in the kind of effervescent magic that makes Lykke Li and Peter Bjorn And John stars in their own right. The dark, dense cinematic disco of the single “Devil’s Work” brings this three-of-a-kind to a premature close, and Happy drops off from there, with “Vase” getting lost in its own minimal arrangements and “God Help This Divorce” floating aimlessly in Beatles-y psychedelia....full text
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