Switched On – Daphni: Cherry (Jialong)

Reviewed by Ben Hogwood

What’s the story?

Daphni is the alias under which Dan Snaith – also known as Caribou – lets loose and allows his musical instincts to run free in club-based music.

This is the third album he has made under this alias, and it is a no-nonsense affair of 14 tracks, wrapped up in 47 minutes. Initially Snaith was not thinking of an album, but found that the music he had been making with Daphni in mind had satisfying links and logic in their order – and so Cherry was born.

What’s the music like?

Liberating and colourful. With its roots in dance, this is an album that generates a good deal of positive, kinetic energy, becoming all about movement. Yet there are plenty of riffs and bright colours to hang on to as well, Snaith working plenty of material into his busy constructions.

The title track goes busily on its way, with a metallic glint to the percussion, Snaith employing some of the bright colours he sprinkles liberally through the album. Always There uses what feels like a twisted mariachi section, and cuts straight into the pinball synths of Crimson, which themselves blend in with a nice, piano-based loop.

Mania has some really nice spacey effects, while the urgent beats on Mona make a strong impression. Clavicle glints in the half light, while Cloudy is arguably the best of all, with a lovely, rippling piano cascaded over a clipped, glitchy beat.

Does it all work?

It does – and if anything it’s a shame Snaith doesn’t develop some of the shorter tracks. Falling especially would have made a good, clubby track, while the jagged Karplus could have been a springboard for something substantial.

Is it recommended?

Yes. This is the sound of an artist having fun in the studio, going where his instincts direct him to go, and coming up with something colourful and melodic that his fans will love.



Switched On – Caribou: You Can Do It (City Slang)

If you’re after some positive Sunday affirmations, look no further!

It may have been out a few weeks, but Caribou‘s single You Can Do It has been steadily burning its way into peoples’ consciousness.

It is a wonderfully uplifting track, from the rapid-fire vocal ‘you can do it’ to the slightly oblique riffing Caribou (aka Dan Snaith) conjures from his keyboards. It’s not a great deal removed from the Chemical Brothers in that respect, but the output could only be from the same pen that wrote the wonderful Sun and Can’t Do Without You and many others.

Add in a video with dogs soaring to catch frisbees, and what’s not to like? Enjoy below:

You Can Do It is out now on City Slang, with Caribou due to play Brixton Academy on 22 October.

Switched On – Caribou: Suddenly (City Slang)

reviewed by Ben Hogwood

What’s the story?

Suddenly may well be an ironic title, given that it marks the reappearance of Caribou as a long playing solo artist for the first time in five years. The artist – aka Dan Snaith – has bewitched us with a number of solo albums blending instrumental electronica and a warm vocal. The last two under the pseudonym of Caribou – Swim and Our Love – were also released at an interval of half a decade, suggesting Snaith has a relaxed rhythm about his music.

What’s the music like?

There is a lot going on in the twelve tracks of Suddenly. Snaith loves to write layers in to his music, so that even the vocal tracks have a collage of instrumental riffs and colours backing them up. A lot of love and care has clearly gone into them, and a good deal of soul shows through too, Snaith coming across as a warm-hearted writer generous with his riffs and hooks. There are deep personal references, too, with Snaith’s mother appearing briefly on the opening Sister.

On occasion, however, he can be too generous. Some of the tracks start to get going but get chopped up and don’t get a chance to fully flex their muscles. It is possible that Snaith has included too much from his reported 900 experimentations that led to the album, as though desperate to cram as much in as possible. There are moments of real beauty in tracks such as Sunny’s Time, with the freedom of its meandering piano, or New Jade with its dappled textures, but they prove fleeting rather than constant.

Never Come Back is a definite exception, a warm and heartening synth-driven piece of positive energy, up there with Caribou’s best tracks. Ravi is up there too, as calming as the blue cover, while there are soft, rounded vocals with a rueful edge on Like I Loved You.

Does it all work?

See above. When Caribou nails a good track it certainly stays nailed – but on occasion there is a bit too much going on. The feeling persists that some of the more driven beats –  Ravi or Never Come Back for instance are where we see some real punch to the rhythms.

Is it recommended?

Yes. Even on an album that proves a little frustrating it is impossible not to be impressed or moved with what Caribou can achieve. He is a fine producer of some very optimistic and affirming music. Fans will lap it up for sure – but newcomers might be better directed to some of the albums further back in the canon.



You can buy Suddenly from the Bandcamp website here