Miike Snow is the collaborative project formed by Christian Karlsson, Pontus Winnberg, and American producer Andrew Wyatt–the former two perhaps better known as Swedish production team, Bloodshy & Avant.
Having sculpted some of the most career defining tracks for Queen B (“Toxic”, “Unusual You”, “Piece Of Me”) as well as countless tracks for more MuuMuse favorites (Madonna, Kylie Minogue, Sugababes, BoA), it’s almost too obvious that this ambitious solo project should follow in step with the excellence we’ve come to expect from the producers.
And yet, it does and doesn’t. If you’re looking to find a compilation of some of the most sizzling electro-pop stompers you’ve never heard, you’re sadly mistaken–they’re not here. Is that a bad thing? No. Because this is still a release from some of the finest musicians in the game, and as a result, this is still a quality piece of work.
Complex drum rhythms, lilted piano melodies, and an afterthought of sprightly synthesizers fill out the contrasting sounds of “Animal” and “Burial,” the lead tracks off of Miike Snow’s eponymous debut. The lyrics here alternate between humility and reprimand, eventually leading to the stinging, contemptuous chorus of “Burial”: “No I, I don’t want to get thrown in your ocean. Don’t try, you know that already we know it…it’s over. At your own burial, don’t forget to cry.” Ouch.
As skilled producers, the members of Miike Snow demonstrate the ability to explore less traveled paths in their music while still manging to reel themselves back to familiar territory within seconds. “Black & Blue” jitters and slides between Prince-like crooning and Darren Hayes‘-like electro-crunchiness, while “A Horse Is Not A Home” dances the line between glam rock (Adam Lambert, take note), alt-electronica, and balladry without ever settling. As with much of the album, it’s simply a sound undefinable.
“Plastic Jungle” is perhaps the poppiest part of the album, playing like a kind of lo-fi parody of Kylie’s mindless mega-smash “Can’t Get You Out Of My Head.” Further on, Miike Snow prove that the most exciting producers in Pop can do a much more than a simple verse-chorus-verse-chorus progression: “Sans Soleil” offers cool drips of electronica atop the rooftops of a French chateau, mixing solitary piano riffs with choral coos and glittering bells, while “Silvia” gorgeously unravels to the tune of scattering synthesizers of all shapes and sizes and a vocal performance soaring beyond human proportions.
I didn’t (and still don’t) know quite what to make of Miike Snow. They’re a curious creature, a force as shrouded in mystery as their borrowed mascot–the elusive jackalope. With a release as peculiarly scattered and layered, you’re bound to catch something new with every listen. Different moods and times invite different emotions, and no track seems to sound as it did the time before. At least one thing’s certain about this release–I can’t stop listening.
Miike Snow is currently streaming their entire album at their MySpace.