Swedish/American trio Miike Snow finally return, after what seems like an eternity, to reinstate themselves as one of the most experimental yet incredibly effective collectives on the pop scene.
Whilst two of the members, Christian Karlsson (Bloodshy) and Pontus Winnberg (Avant), are known more for their production and writing talents (Britney Spears ‘Toxic’, Madonna ‘Like It Or Not’), they struck it big as a group, alongside third member Andrew Wyatt, when their feel-good anthem ‘Black & Blue’ appeared on pretty much every radio playlist throughout the UK back in 2009. Following up with 'Happy To You', their signature wistful instrumentation is worked harder than ever before - but with mixed results.
Highly atmospheric yet pretty low key, ‘Black Tin Box, which features fellow Swede Lykke Li, is a powerful record with off-the-wall thought provoking qualities and so many possibilities, painting a picture using music has never been so hard. Enjoyable from the first symbol to the last key, the interjection of the odd piano here and there makes for one hell of a futuristically-driven yet victorian-dressed piece of music. However, if you’re looking for more of this type of delivery throughout the 10 track LP, think again.
Decked out in various styles and tempos, other stand outs include the album’s closer, ‘Paddling Out’. Thanks to the up-tempo drum loop and hammering piano keys featured on production the track could at times easily be mistaken for a mid-nineties club anthem that pill poppers would have stuck to like glue. Vocally catchy, there’s actually no way you can stop your head from nodding when hearing it.
Almost making the grade, ‘Pretender’ starts off as a sombre number with an easy going flow but somehow manages to get caught up in the recent Dubstep hype around the 52 second mark, and continues to do so at various points throughout. By introducing a sonically whirring sound that throws off the listeners' concentration slightly and leaving us feeling a bit dissatisfied. There are a few other tracks that seem to hold their own when they need to, and are undoubtable growers, but their initial impact doesn’t do too much to spark your interest.
Opening cut ‘Enter The Joker’s Lair’, as well as the Mark Ronson-sounding ‘Vase‘, work very well to guide the album to where it needs to be. Instrumentally attractive, borderline perfect and vocally compelling, both display the reason why Miike Snow are making music in the first place. 'Happy To You' is an interesting mishmash of styles with a few slip-ups here and there but overall the positive triumphs the negative.