Caribou, the moniker of Canadian Dan Snaith, has established a few constants throughout his three previous studio records. Each record contains a distinctly different DNA from the last; there are few comparisons to find between the playful folktronica of The Milk Of Human Kindness and the lush, house-tinged psychedelia of Swim, and each record has been an improvement on the last. However, Our Love fails on both fronts, serving as a record that bears too much similarity to Swim, while missing some of the qualities that made it special.
Due to a tangent from Caribou in the form of side-project Daphni and an increase in DJ sets, Snaith has been fully immersing himself in the world of electronic music prior to this record. However, this results in an album that is, at times, a mind-numbing exploration of electronica. ‘Our Love’ best demonstrates this. It features a more minimal version of Swim‘s structure – low-key repetitive vocals mixed with occasional musical flourishes – but instead of building to a life-affirming climax (e.g. ‘Jamelia’), it ends up becoming an unwelcome culmination of bubbling bass and an awkwardly obnoxious vocal sample.
Despite the constant side-steps towards the generic or forgettable, Caribou still proves himself as wondrous songwriter at points. ‘All I Ever Need’ is the most emotional, personal track on the record and the usually underwhelming vocals have a quiet sadness to them, as Snaith’s lyrics see him reflecting on a lost love. The record also has a few musical treasures to discover, such as the nostalgic ‘Back Home’, which reaches a triumphant bed of synths and stuttering beats, it’s a shame much of Our Love can’t capture the imaginative characteristic demonstrated here.
As a far colder and less fully formed version of Swim, Our Love ends up being a record that’s difficult to actually love. A disappointment considering he was once able to breathe so much human emotion into machines.