He’s not in his video much, either…
Doug Robertson: This is what I largely suspect music made by parrots would sound like. Flighty, flappy and dreaming of escape.
Martin Kavka: Dreamy indie guy realizes he sounds a bit like Erlend Oye, produces a song that sounds like a remix of the tracks Oye did with Royksopp on Melody A.M., and pleases those folks who have been pining for a Royksopp/Oye reunion. If it’s not exactly original, it’s at least quite skilled.
Anthony Easton: Is Arthur Russell become so canonical among musicians that second-generation rip-offs are happening? I thought he was just a critical darling.
Martin Skidmore: I love dance music, but I wish there weren’t the trend towards terrible indie vocals. Actually, you wouldn’t want to dance to this either – its electronica is determinedly intellectual rather than visceral. Take out the feeble and geeky vocal, and I’d rather like it in an abstract not fussed kind of way. Anyone remember Ross’s musical project in Friends?
Alex Macpherson: A beat fucked around with enough to make sure it comes off as “experimental” indietronica, rather than straight-up dance music; but not fucked around with to the extent of, say, Matmos. Fast enough to pass as upbeat, without ever making you want to dance (never have so many cowbells been put to so little use). A vocal which codes as sensitive, but doesn’t go so far as to express any emotion other than a vague timorousness. Business as usual for this peddler of proto-electrodribble.
Tal Rosenberg: I’m going to guess — and I could be totally wrong — that people who rate this really low will be unfamiliar with Caribou’s oeuvre. And that’s fine (making presumptions is probably not, but whatever), since maybe this song should be judged on its own merits. To my ears, it’s divine: The bass-keyboard “boing” punctuated by bird calls and breaths and handclaps and skronks. Snaith’s voice might be a little too fey for some, but I love its sensitivity against the music. This song is light and agile, like good prose and breakfast and TV. And if you are familiar with the rest of Caribou’s oeuvre, then the transformation into this particularly humid brand of dance-pop only makes it better.
Ian Mathers: I’ve never been much of a fan of the various phases of Dan Snaith’s work as Manitoba/Caribou, even though he’s usually working in forms or using sounds that tend to appeal to me. I respect what he does, but it’s never really grabbed me. “Odessa” is still a little underwhelming, but Snaith’s new (to me) vocal resemblance to Arthur Russell and that inexorably galumphing baseline make this one of my favourite songs of his.
John Seroff: D.Snaith/Caribou/Manitoba has been grinding since 2000 and it’s heartening to see him helming a song that has every indication of being a blog-to-mainstream breakout hit that will hopefully let him buy a house. “Odessa” is a lovely, floppy, LCD Soundsystem kind of thing; highly structured but just a bit funky. I like it a lot.
Chuck Eddy: Moderately funky factory clanking and zoo sound effects and bass throbbing and noodle doodles, not entirely negated by a singer who refuses to enunciate or project his voice. If his woman walked out, which seems to be the case though damned if I’m gonna strain my hearing to make sure, you’d think it might inspire him to express emotion of some sort. As is, I’m on her side.
Iain Mew: A slice of darkness leaning towards dance without committing, which makes a rather bad first impression through overwhelming timidity. There’s a lot of well timed textural variation to it, though, and once it picks up, as the interplay between yomping bass and fire alarm bell kicks in, it never looks back.
Michaelangelo Matos: This one kept surprising me as it went. It shouldn’t have, since a shifting landscape is one of Dan Snaith’s specialties, but I didn’t expect so many little parts to come parading past. It doesn’t mean I love all the parts: his wispy voice grows on me, but it takes a while, and the looped sitar twang that runs through the beginning and end can be irritating. But the touches betray a sure sense that the collages add up to something that I fully anticipating loving more on the album than in isolation.
Matt Cibula: I have a lot of things to say about this Art-of-Noise-y jam, but none of them are better than “femaledeity” on YouTube: “is it? really a knob at 0:13?”