Album Review: Caribou - Suddenly

Caribou delivers on expectations with this sonically diverse & fun record.
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Caribou

Caribou

Caribou has reliably been one of the best live electronic groups over the past two decades, putting out weird electronic music that fits in the greater time period, but lives outside of the mainstream. Led by Dan Snaith, the band has evolved over the past two decades from the drum-heavy & psychedelic early records like The Milk Of Kindness, to the dancey Our Love, that established Caribou as one of the more in-demand names in electronic music. Now five and half years on and several Dan Snaith projects in between, we have a new Caribou album Suddenly.

The project opens with the subtle and yearning intro “Sister” that focuses on Snaith’s voice asking for a change over fluttering synths. This then gets upended on “You And I,” which starts soft, but then suddenly flips into a much more upbeat track with rolling 808’s, chugging synths and distorted chopped vocals.

The album continues to cover a lot of ground with “Sunny’s Time,” which throws in a bit of curveball. The rapping is a little jarring at first, but it starts to settle in as the song goes on and sounds better with each passing listen.

“New Jade” speeds things up into UK jungle and breakbeats that still has ephemeral beauty on top with floating piano and Snaith's vocals. “Home,” the first single hits on some classic notes with a rock groove, soul and a light tough of electronica on top.

“Never Come Back” has the potential to be the big hit from this record. It is distinctly Caribou, but also has some nods to Tame Impala with big danceable sections and a hypnotic synth melody. This has all the makings of a set opener or closer.

“Ravi” combines fun and danceable house music with a touch of filter disco. The album eventually ends with the gentle “Cloud Song” that allows you to rest after energetic moments in “Ravi.”

If there is one thing you can’t accuse this album of being, it is boring. The record constantly ping-pongs between different sounds and styles like soul, breakbeats, ambient electronica and even disco. Despite all of this, it still sounds cohesive in the most Caribou way. It is fun, danceable and tender all at the same time. Suddenly is all over the place, but in the best way, offering new twists and turns with each song, while still staying on a thin, wavering line that connects the full record. The record sounds better with each listen and could finish the year as one of its best.

Stream the album below and get your copy here.

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