Favorite Track: "Cloud Song" Least Favorite Track: "Ravi"
Dan Snaith of Caribou can perfectly sum up his own music through his write up on Spotify’s About page. He is a laid back, passionate musician who shows his enthusiasm through a mild filter, And though this has been his way of making music for the last twenty years or so, I can't help but notice that there is a lack of vocal and conceptual versatility when it comes to Dan’s latest studio album, Caribou.
Although Suddenly is very similar to most of Caribou’s past work, the one area where I found this project to be a large improvement is in instrumental versatility. Compared to 2015’s “Our Love”, Suddenly is able to incorporate elements of Hip-Hop, House, Soul, and new age Pop in a seamlessly easy way. The Boombap and soulful instrumental in one of my favorite tracks of the record, “Home” is a perfect example of Dan mixing up his styles with consistently sticking with the sonic direction of the record. The songs “Never Come Back” and “Like I Loved You” are dream pop tracks with an intoxicating instrumental, even despite their repetitive and shallow lyrics. Oddly enough, he sounds like a clone of Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker throughout a few lines. It's an odd stylistic consistency throughout the album, but in sparse portions nonetheless.
A majority of the records weaknesses simultaneously serve as strengths in a weird way. “Sister” is a beautifully youthful introduction to the album, with some of the lyrics about change being the most potent on the entire record. The closer to the record, “Cloud Song” has the same soft delivery in Snaith’s voice, backed by a pixely electronic intro and heart cutting lyrics throughout the entire six minute song. It is simultaneously such a stylistic departure and similarity that it brings out the best in “Suddenly”.
There are a couple more notable tracks, “Sunny’s Time” brings a hard hitting sample as its centerpiece and “Lime” has this truly cool cat jazz piano that I pretend to play along with each time it comes to light.
Lack of substance seems to be the biggest hindrance to the album, there are too many deep cuts in the tracklisting that just because your song has a killer instrumental doesn't mean that you can give up on the rest of the song. Most of the tracks are of a shorter length as well, and there is way too much repetitiveness in songs like “Ravi” and “New Jade”, where there is no reason to have these tracks other than for utilizing the “Skip song” button on your smartphone.
Overall “Suddenly” is a mixed bag that has insurmountable strengths in its instrumentals and gaping wounds when it comes to lyricism and concept. It's almost as if Dan put 110% of effort in the instrumentals on each song on the track listing and was too tired to write lyrics and make a concept, so he just threw the rest of it together. The records cover art sums up the listening experience to a tee: an ocean of ideas and instrumentals, but when it comes down to relatability and replayability, it only makes a small ripple effect on your daily life as the listener. And I just know that Caribou has so much more potential in them and I hope that Dan mends his mistakes on his next project.