I have a confession: I’m in love with Swedish music.
It seems that over the last few years this far-away Scandinavian country has become an innovator and leader in indie pop music. From Teddybears to I’m from Barcelona to Peter, Bjorn and John, my iPod can’t get enough of what the Swedes have to offer. But if there is one album that I have played to death and recommended hundreds of times since its 2010 release, it’s Miike Snow’s debut self-titled album.
When I heard about their newest release, “Happy To You,” I was simultaneously filled with excitement and dread. Would Sweden’s reputation for amazing music carry through or would a sophomore slump destroy a band I loved?
Thankfully, the talented musicians prevailed. “Happy To You,” while not quite as addictive or accessible as the trio’s first album, is still a great listen.
Miike Snow is a pretty experimental pop band, and it takes advantage of a wide range of sounds. This album is sometimes slow and distorted, and sometimes poppy and drum heavy, all the while rhythmic and intoxicating. The vocals are haunting and beautiful, switching between a falsetto and a computer manipulated sound, turning on a dime to match the emotion of the track.
That mixture of sounds can easily be judged as too chaotic. Though the complexity and musicianship is impressive, I tend to agree, citing this album as a little too intense and hard to access or appreciate as background music.
Many moods are created, simultaneously fun and outgoing, and contemplative and withdrawn. The trio’s first single, “Paddling Out,” shows this off beautifully, hitting the piano and drums hard from the start, while also highlighting echoey emotional vocals, allowing for darker undertones in an otherwise upbeat track.
Like heard in “Paddling Out,” Miike Snow really expands on its musical ability with this album. The second track, “The Wave,” is a song that I both like and am annoyed by. While it’s catchy, it also sounds like it could’ve been created for a Coldplay album, a copped-out creation of a band capable of more. “Vase” sounds like a Vampire Weekend remix, “Archipelago” leaves all the dark emotions behind for a joyous and carefree song and “God Help This Divorce,” one of the more experimental tracks, throws all those complex feelings right back into the listener’s ears.
While it make take some time for Miike Snow’s foreign sound to sink in, “Happy To You” is a must-listen, especially for fellow pop and electronica fans.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Isa Jones at Alexandra.email@example.com.