The [Ninja Turtles] henchmen Bebop and Rocksteady have hijacked the musical genres for us just like the Lone Ranger hijacked the William Tell Overture for our parents.

- xkcd

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Caribou

The Milk of Human Kindness

1) Yeti
It starts off with a nifty little keyboard line and sems to walk that fine line between pop and electronica. It reminds me of The Postal Service for the simple reason that I find them extrordinarily good at the same type of thing. Not a ton of musical inventiveness but it's a nice intro and puts me in a nice mood as I start out the album.

2) Subotnick
A distinct change of pace. Slow everything way down, sound a little out-of-tune and more of that. Feels kind of like someone noodling on an organ but just repeating some chords over and over again. Builds to a little brass fanfare. onwards into...

3) A Final Warning
This one starts out with some darker sounds and some twittering and then provides a, to my taste, little too high-pitched background noise. I've listened to this song three times in a row and can't stay focused on it. It's alright but not my favorite and it is kind of disappointing nicec "Subotnick" even provides a lead in to it.

4) Lord Leopard
Synthesized trumpets and some shouts of "hya!" open it up into a nice little not-quite-dancing counterpoint. All of the electronic parts quickly coalesce, however, making it into a nice little neo-lounge (can I say that?) song.

5) Bees
And here we have the anthem for the album. This song is quite nice. It starts out smoothly and with a little harmonica and then manages to almost be electro-country(?). Yes, I am inventing new genre's on the fly because I like to combine nusual words. It picks up the tempo and brings it back down a few times. It makes me curioous about where he's going next. It provides me with horn sounds and cool beats. In short, it's an excellent song.

6)Hands First
In the grand tradition of artistes, make a nice song and then follow it a brief deluge of noise. Here's about 10 seconds of noise (drums + brass + feedback all in one giant tussle that resolve to a nice harmony) to separate Bees from #7. It serves it's purpose nicely. Think of it as the ginger between different flavors of sushi. Now your mind is cleared for the next song (note to self: this could be a useful trick for next mix CD)

7) Hello Hammerheads
This song is much more laid back. As with the rest of the album, it keeps a minimal electronic beat underneath and thewn he is sort of singing/chanting some stuff that I have't ever bothered to make out. All in all a sort of blah son for me.

8) Brahminy Kite
Here he picks it back up again. There are some different musical and cultural aspects clashing against each other. A laid back organ placed against a thrumming sond and some pulsing high-hat. It's a nice kaleidescope of noise. I don't really know what to do with the song but it is alright and one of those pleasant little suprises that make an album more than a collection of singles.

9)Drumheller
It starts off with some kind of off-kilter stuff (not too suprising for the album) that I'm out of euphamisms for. Then it adds a few layers of complexity, revisiting the original theme and fades in maybe 20-30sec

10) Pelican Narrows
Piano to keyboard and some synth sound that is just "not quite right" and I find interesting. It was my pick as a "cool down" song on my May CD because it provides a lot of soothing piano sounds over some more interesting beats and percussion without dragging itself out enough that you get tired of it. It seems like a good way to rewind as some long piano runs down the scale say "hey, we're all done here."

11) Barnowl
Soft, soothing vocals over a muted palette of electronic drone. It's all so cliche but I like the song. Well, maybe it's just my writing that is. Too many Pitchfork reviews or something. Onto phase two, where the song picks up the tempo and adds a little backbone. Still not too threatening but we're not going out on a whimper. Building...building...and we're back to the chorus which feels a little more energized now but still the soft vocals. Then we fade out...and oh look, it's a fake we've got one more burst of energy with some drumming and then we're finished, left with a faintly ringing cymbal.

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So there's my track-by-track review of the latest Caribou CD. I would've gone to see them live last month but they were paired against Architecture in Helsinki one of my new even more favoriter bands. And thus, even with the openers of The Russian Futuists I spurned their show (though not without moments of teeth gnashing and hair pulling).

As always coments appreciated. I don't really know what the point of this was. I wrote this as I listened to the appropriate track. This wasn't the first time I listened to the CD but it is the most focused listen I think I've really given it. Overall impression was positive but I thought that if he got rid of the beat on a song or two that would seem to give him a little more variety and free him from whatever musical box all of the descriptions get trapped into. Maybe that's just me and my guitar driven heritage, not sure.

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