This coming Tuesday the long-awaited album by one-man indie electro pop outfit Caribou returns with Andorra on the Merge label. High expectations abound for the record due to the heaps of critical acclaim gleaned by 2005's The Milk of Human Kindness.
Andorra is Dan Snaith's first proper new full-length since The Milk of Human Kindness, some long playing B-sides and EPs notwithstanding. And the bottom line is that Caribou delivers the goods here with Brian Wilson-inspired laptop craftsmanship.
I'm still up in the air on whether Andorra is better than The Milk of Human Kindness, but it is at least as good. The electronic spine of Andorra is organic and you have a feeling throughout that this is a complete band. The aeriform vocals are bathed in '60s psychedelia, while the music lifts and transcends on scads of well-formed and executed ideas.
The changes in tone, melody and arrangement all fit within the confines of the mood Snaith defines on this relatively short nine-track disc. It'll work equally well in the context of a chic uptown penthouse party, or around the campfire in the middle of the woods. But the most impressive thing about Andorra is how perfectly it balances pop sensibility with a willingness to stretch the boundaries into the realm of art.
The freeform elements so present in the songs of Caribou are still here. And as such may not win fans who were turned off by this element on previous efforts. But even those in this category will collapse under the pop perfection of the album's opening track "Melody Day," which could easily find itself as a background to the next really big TV ad.
Andorra is a highly recommended album from a man who continues to show himself as a wonderful melding of left and right brain.
Mathematician and artist.
1. Melody Day Listen Listen
2. Sandy Listen Listen
3. After Hours Listen Listen
4. She's the One Listen Listen
5. Desiree Listen Listen
6. Eli Listen Listen
7. Sundialing Listen Listen
8. Irene Listen Listen