26 March 2016

Miike Snow - III

In my spare time outside of my real job and here, I present a radio show called Attention Please on NE1.FM.  It is a mixture of genres and sometimes we play some kick-ass stuff, sometimes I am slightly self-indulgent if I am honest.  However, the show after use is called Indie Dependent and they focus on the latest independent releases and have a good format to the show (even if I call them hipsters, they are a good bunch and actually know their stuff).  A few weeks ago, they played a song by Swedish Indie Pop act Miike Snow (the spelling of which annoys me slightly, but my crimes against grammar well documented on these pages) which I found very interesting.  Much like The 1975's, it felt like it from coming from another era and I promised myself I would investigate it very soon.  Miike Snow formed in 2007 and none of the members are actually called Miike Snow; they consist of the production duo Bloodshy & Avant and singer Andrew Wyatt, 'iii' is their third album after 'Miike Snow' and 'Happy to You'.  To be honest, until I heard them on Indie Dependent I had not came across them, so let us see what I have been missing.

Starting off the album is the song "My Trigger" which starts with a piano sequence that brings to mind the sound of Marvin Gaye, it soon merges into a high tempo number which is a mixture of Daft Punk, Jamiriqui and Mr Gaye himself.  The song is very enjoyable and it would fill a dance floor very quickly, however (and this is a big however), once it is over then it does not leave too much of an impression and at times I was struggling to remember too much of it outside that opening piano chord and it seems to be all shine over depth; so a perfect pop tune, but still a pop tune never the less.  Next is "The Heart of Me" which forges a similar vein of form that "My Trigger" was ploughing during its existence in the world, it is another shimmering piece of pop that have a euphoric peak that is a joy to reach, but it is once it gets there repeatedly throughout the song, the shine sadly does not last on this one.  It is fun, sounds good and I know it will be great on a night out; however, the depths I was hoping to be present under the beautiful tune are not present upon further listening.  "Genghis Khan" is the second song to have been released as a single off this album, the third track off the album and the song which the Indie Dependent lads played that brought Miike Snow to my attention.  Now, for some reason this song seems to have legs where the first two come up short.  It just keeps on giving and I have no idea why, because if you truly listen to the lyrics it is in the same league as "Blurred Lines" by Robin Thicke.  It is telling somewhere to be, who to be with, but not actually wanting to be with them and then wanting to be with them at the same time.  But despite myself, it has been stuck in my head and is currently my joint favourite song of the year so far - well played sirs, well played.

"Heart is Full" was the first song to be released off this album, it is following a similar pattern which seems to be the calling card of this band, sample of a sixties number and horn section, beautiful vocals and a decent enough tune which is good when it is being played and sort of dissipates a little too soon for my tastes once it is over.  It is not never bad, but there is little staying power so far apart from Genghis Khan.  "For U" which features Charli XCX is a dark horse for yours truly to be honest; it has an unusual rhythm and sound that makes it incredible interesting to me, it is not your normal pop which the others seem to be and it gets under your skin in a way that makes it stand out from the crowd on this record.  It is the dark horse of this album, another example showcasing that this band does have the art of writing a good song in them and the vocals of Charli XCX add something to this song as well.  "I Feel the Weight" slows the mood down and brings a reflective and melancholic mood to the album, everything is reduced to a slow crawl and there is heartbreak to every beat of the song.  Once more I am full of wonder why the band can make a song like this which can stay with you once it is over, can also make songs which slip through your fingers like fog on an autumn morning.  I like this number as it is not just all bright and shiny, there is pain at the very hub of the song and they use it to the best of their abilities to bring the misery home to everyone who will listen.  "Back of the Car" is the seventh song on this record and on this song they are serving the leanest slice of electro indie pop I have heard for an awfully long time.  It is tries to let the space between the music do the work, focusing on the voice of Mr Wyatt to carry the track.  It almost succeeds to be honest, but it feels like it is a remix away from being finished.

"Lonely Life" beings with a slow whirl of noise that gives way to a deep bass that has been missing from a few of the song on this album, there is a sound on here which is akin to Owl City and also the ever present Daft Punk vibe that has been casting a shadow so long that it could be bathed in disco lights, they would play it with helmets and it should all be brought together with a large hook.  But the hook does not appear for me on this song, it goes for Air instead of being the next "Around the World".  It also ends a little too soon for my tastes and the interest level drops with each listen sadly.  "Over and Over" is where I struggle the most on this record, which is a shame as it should be a song that is so far up my street that it has my postcode on it.  The performance is not the problem for me, much like the rest of this album it is a great example of a professional piece of pop driven from a minimalist point of view; the problem is that it does not gel together in a way that gives it any traction in my mind and it goes past me without any initial impression and this does not change with any further listening which is a real shame.  The ending track (but penultimate track as there is a bonus song) is called "Longshot (7 nights)" and it is a slow, string bass piece of dream pop that is designed to bring the mood to a nature closing point, it is a song about love and how it can be difficult in places.  It is another song that does not hit the mark that it is aiming for, but it is not a bad number either and that is part of an issue which I will get to in a bit during the conclusion.  Let us just say for now, there is more that could (and should) have been done with this song.  Ending the album is the bonus song which is a remix of "Heart is Full" remixed and featuring Run the Jewels, this is given something extra by the rap laid down by Run the Jewels and it give the song a kick up the arse that ends this album on a much higher point that the original version that started the album.  This version of the song is the superior of the two and ends the album on an unexpected high note.

Now I love minimalist pop and electronic indie, but this album comes up short in a few places where it should have been flying.  The spaces are not moments where this album flies, the songs are a bit too throwaway and do not have as much lasting power as a few of the other numbers and it takes the shine off the record as a whole.  The remix at the end of "Heart is Full" also proves that the album is in need of another layer to add the pieces that are missing from what is a good selection of songs that should be a brilliant collection. As I said at the end of "Longshot (7 nights)", the band are not a bad band and this is not a poor record; it just could have and should have been so much more.  But with that being said, it is also not a bad record by any stretch of the imagination and it has what will probably be one of the best songs of 2016 for me with "Genghis Khan" and its spectacular video.  File under - in desperate need of some attention form the remix community.

6.5 out of ten - Now I see where you were going, but it is not quite there.

Top track - Genghis Khan

You can purchase iii on Amazon here.

You can visit the Miike Snow website here.

You can follow the activities of Miike Snow on Facebook here.

You can stream iii on Spotify here.

You can stream iii on Deezer here.

You can stream iii on Tidal here.

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