Caribou – Odessa [City Slang]
There’s something instantly infectious and darkly eccentric about this dense bubble of deep house. We hit the ground running with the muffled, subterranean bass line that drives the proceedings, soon met by layer upon layer of troubling noises, anxiety-inducing keyboard stabs and flourishes, and cowbells, before ending as abruptly as we began. Only on closer inspection is it apparent that there is little in the way of a conventional drum beat, hidden as it is deep in the mix, the myriad looped sounds carrying the rhythm while being endlessly subjected to subtle injections of echo and reverb that bring the sensation of a cavernous floatation tank.
The deadpan vocals, with a rare appeal akin to, say, Hot Chip, or perhaps more accurately White Town’s ‘Your Woman’, are given the same treatment, the disjointed, cyclical lyrics lost in the muddled mental preparations for the termination of a relationship. Basement Jaxx also spring to mind as exponents of the more-is-more school of oppressive aural melee as dance music, though here the Canadian Dan Snaith is exhibiting a subtlety and restraint more often disregarded by the London duo.
More physical than Caribou’s earlier output, there is still something intangibly cerebral about Swim and there is little surprise in seeing the album featured in its fair share of end-of-year and award shortlists. Not exactly nightmarish but certainly edgy, album opener ‘Odessa’ seems to mash all the wrong buttons in hitting the right notes.
‘Odessa’ was released as a 12″ and appears on Caribou album Swim [City Slang/V2 Recordings].