Following the release of the highly anticipated new studio LP from Caribou, Getintothis’ Max Richardson delivers his verdict and finds much to love.
Suddenly marks the first full-length studio release from Caribou, an alias for the Canadian producer Dan Snaith, since 2015’s Our Love.
The release of initial lead singles You and I and Home set a high benchmark of quality to start – with both tracks being utterly superb offerings.
You and I is simultaneously utterly chaotic while also managing to retain an inherent sense of coolness and tranquility, which really is an impressive feat in just the one track.
As the track begins with a deceptively chilled synth sequence, and ambient synths, the listener would easily be forgiven for thinking this was a work of calming lofi electronica, perhaps in a similar vein to Joji.
However, this quickly descends into something far more complex, with a bizarre change in timbre heard after the first verse quickly turning the track into something far, far more interesting.
And this manages to summarise the beauty of the music of Caribou, particularly that of Suddenly. The sheer unpredictable nature of such a stylistically diverse producer really does keep the listener on their toes – perhaps even more than before with the new album.
The album is full to the brim with a gorgeously diverse palette of sounds and genres, yet manages to never feel pretentious, or as if Snaith is simply trying to show off.
Tracks such as Like I Loved You pull the record to a more emotional pacing, perhaps more akin to the work of a singer-songwriter than an electronic producer.
Yet only a few tracks previously Never Come Back brought the album into dance territory in a 90s infused track at a much more upbeat tempo, incorporating elements of house music and two-step garage.
As such, it’s pretty difficult to generalise Suddenly, with the record seeming to constantly be on the lookout for new ways to surprise.
Surprisingly, the sheer volume of sounds and styles heard on Suddenly never seem to overwhelm, and amazingly manage to converge to create a cohesive work with a distinctive sound – even in such a varied album.
One way Caribou manages to create a sense of familiarity amid the chaos of ever-changing styles and sounds is through the repeated uses of distinctive synth patches and sounds.
Standout tracks are truly difficult to pinpoint in such a consistent record, yet single You and I undoubtedly serves as one of the strongest points of the record, alongside Lime and perhaps the conclusion of the album, Cloud Song – highly reminiscent of the solo works of Thom Yorke.
Suddenly really does feel like an album designed to be listened to from start to finish. From the subtle transitions between tracks to the seemingly considered pacing of the record, Suddenly really shines when listened to as a singular work.
Spanning a 43 minute runtime, the album manages to fit an awful lot of quality material into 12 concise tracks.
Suddenly almost comes across as a bit of a sonic puzzle. We find ourself hearing a snippet of sound and trying to figure out if it’s a piano, or a guitar, or a synth – and then trying to guess what it’s going to evolve into.
Of course, this; those who prefer melody and lyrical content above production and sound might perhaps struggle with Suddenly.
If you’re not into electronic music, Suddenly might be a bit of a tough listen. However, there’s definitely enough elements of genres such as pop and perhaps even jazz to appeal to newcomers to the genre.
All in all, Suddenly is a frankly spellbinding listen. A real, rare treat of a record that manages to be so varied as to constantly keep the listener on their toes, while also forming a cohesive record from start to finish.
If you’ve not yet given it a spin, or even some of the earlier works of Caribou – it’s definitely the time to give them a try.
Caribou was due to tour the UK in April in support of Suddenly, including a date at Liverpool’s Invisible Wind Factory – however for certain obvious reasons in the current climate this has now been postponed.
The date has now been rearranged to September 11.
Of course, this gives new listeners plenty of time to familiarise themselves with the new material before the gig – one that’s no doubt set to be one to remember following the producer’s legendary live performance at The Kazimier.