The way a new Caribou album always works, it should have been preceded by a “transitional record.” In the time between Andorra’s baroque-pop and The Milk of Human Kindness’ neo-psych, continuity would tell us that this artist born Daniel Victor Snaith would need a few messy experiments before arriving at the airy wallop on 2007’s “Melody Day” from the overt DJ overtones on 2005’s “Pelican Narrows.” I’d imagine there a few GBs worth of Caribou experiments, whole lost albums built up in practice, anticipating the final release to pull off another shape-shift.
To account for the last three years between Andorra and Swim, there are probably a few dance records taking up storage on a laptop somewhere as Caribou’s latest release hits stores today. At first glance, Swim and first single “Odessa” appear to be skirting the trends that have prevailed into the new decade, slathering polyrhythms in swashes of color and sampled horns, undressing the flustered production that used to announce a Caribou track. But what initially comes off like a grasp at relevancy begins to reveal itself as a deconstruction of the dance tracks Caribou has been shoveling production onto for the last decade: “Odessa” takes a microscopic look at his usual flighty psychedelia and studies the obtuse, despairing beat that grounds it. Add in impersonal lyrics detailing a woman leaving her man and “turning around the life she let him siphon away” and you have one twisted summer jam. The hardest part of breaking up is trying not to dance.