Caribou - Our Love

by Jack Reid

Caribou may have finally done something that I’ve been waiting for for months now. Since Disclosure dropped their genre-defining album and heralded the beginning of the era of mass media house blends, it’s all been a bit of a lull for me. Piquing my interest have been some really great records from Route 94, pretty much everything from Ten Walls, and the odd diamond in the rough on the Eton Messy channel. Otherwise, it’s all been a little homogenous.

Maybe I’m so excited because for once, the best tracks from this album aren’t necessarily the ones that were released as singles already. For one, the track that’s really been getting the majority of plays, Can’t Do Without You, actually actively annoys me. Its vocal sample is so invariable and repetitive that it really comes off as lazy production in the same vein as Everything by XXXY. However, it’s all uphill from there. The sounds across the rest of the album are blissfully diverse, from the Beach House pitch bends on Second Chance that wonk the melancholic chords just enough. The guest vocal on that track could have easily come off as ‘generic female vocal feature on electronic album’ - but the melody and really unique production make it something else.

The album certainly flirts with a lot of genres that are currently in vogue (at least as far as my playlist is concerned), with Dive sounding a little like Purity Ring’s futurebeats, for example. However, it’s not at all derivative (like so much else we’re hearing these days). There are sounds scattered throughout the whole LP that really just scream out to me as mercifully fresh. For instance, the synth that I can only describe as the mournful mosquito really makes Silver a great track, on the same level as Massive Attack even.

I have very few criticisms for an album that is the first thing in a very long time that has featured something genuinely original. The whole record is a real synthesis of threads of genres that are getting stale, yet it kicks us off to something new. That sounds like a pretty obvious description of what new music does, but honestly this is the first record in way too long to actually do it properly. I’m sorry if I’m getting too conceptual here, but Our Love is the best synthesis of the musical zeitgeist I’ve heard this year.