Album: Caribou

The Milk of Human Kindness, LEAF
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The Independent Culture

Dan Snaith used to call himself Manitoba, until he was subpoenaed for trademark infringement by "Handsome" Dick Manitoba, formerly of the useless proto-punk band The Dictators. Unwilling to waste money on lawyers, Snaith simply changed his nom de disque to Caribou for this follow-up to 2003's Up in Flames, though his working methods remain largely the same, with pieces built from layers of sampled sounds. Tracks like "A Final Warning" and "Barnowl" tick along smoothly like Can's Future Days, with a similar sense of cosmic outreach; "Pelican Narrows" features cascading droplets of twinkling keyboard tones, gamelan-style; "Drumheller" uses reversed string samples to acquire the smeary texture that helped to make Up in Flames so mysteriously moving. Balancing these is the more pastoral, guitar-based strain of tracks such as "Hello Hammerheads". And there are vignettes such as "Hands First" (a brief welter of drum-rolls) and "Subotnick", which, despite being named after one of the great electronic compose

Dan Snaith used to call himself Manitoba, until he was subpoenaed for trademark infringement by "Handsome" Dick Manitoba, formerly of the useless proto-punk band The Dictators. Unwilling to waste money on lawyers, Snaith simply changed his nom de disque to Caribou for this follow-up to 2003's Up in Flames, though his working methods remain largely the same, with pieces built from layers of sampled sounds. Tracks like "A Final Warning" and "Barnowl" tick along smoothly like Can's Future Days, with a similar sense of cosmic outreach; "Pelican Narrows" features cascading droplets of twinkling keyboard tones, gamelan-style; "Drumheller" uses reversed string samples to acquire the smeary texture that helped to make Up in Flames so mysteriously moving. Balancing these is the more pastoral, guitar-based strain of tracks such as "Hello Hammerheads". And there are vignettes such as "Hands First" (a brief welter of drum-rolls) and "Subotnick", which, despite being named after one of the great electronic composers, features a series of dramatic three-chord guitar flourishes. The best tracks are the mantra-like "Brahminy Kite" and "Lord Leopard", whose keyboard progressions sound like a "classical rap" from the likes of Kanye West.

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