Live in London – Miike Snow
I can see (hear) that Miike Snow could be divisive…
On the one hand this Scandinavian band offers Passion Pit-style electro bounciness, and that same impossible catchiness that could perk up the most determinedly gloom Scrooge. There’s also a bit of computer cleverness and sampling going on, all very contemporary and cool.
Equally c&c is their tribute to 80s pop – an unlikely source of musical inspiration that Frankmusik is also mining into, among other current audio scenesters. But Miike Snow take things a bit further: rather than merely draw on 80s pop production values, their stuff really sounds like songs from three-and-a-half decades ago. Exhibit A: the cutesy piano chords, dainty disco ripples and syrup-thick synth growls on lead-song Animal. The singer even sounds a bit like Peter Frampton, a bit Phil Collins and a lot like another classic 80s voice I can’t quite summon to mind. In fact, Animal’s so decidedly retro that I’m beginning to wonder if it’s all a bit of a joke: perhaps it’s actually just very self-mocking, and a faux, rather mocking elegy to the sounds it reproduces, like a tribute band or a tacky theme night. Another listen, and I’m back to thinking its 80s gold-dust immeasurably improved by Noughties cleverness.
Assuming that’s the truth, here’s the potential divide: is this honouring or recycling of the past a productive thing? So much of music culture seems to revolve around a pattern of music being cool, then popular, then very popular, then disliked, then abandoned, then forgotten, then rediscovered, then cool… and so on. All very well, but is this really much of a leap forward, reworking old styles, these endless cycles? Can’t we create entirely new styles from scratch, or have all avenues for completely different genres been exhausted, meaning everything can now only be a hybrid of something else? Have we reached the limit of musical imagination, or at least mapped out the solar system if not yet completely navigated each various planet?
Whatever the answer, Miike Snow definitely appear to have fans where it counts – they’ve recently remixed Passion Pit and Peter, Bjorn and John, and had Animal given the definitive Crookers treatment, translating into a much heavier dance version of the song.
Tues 14 July – Hoxton Bar & Kitchen. Tickets here (See Tickets).
Miike Snow on MySpace