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Caribou was formerly Manitoba, for
those who don't already know. The threat of a lawsuit
from musician Dick Manitoba forced a legal
rethinking of the name.
And why not rethink the way you record music while
you're at it? This album came about with a more loose
and free style in terms of recording process. You
can refer to other Web sites about the Dick thing,
it's been overreported as far as I'm concerned.
The result is an album that's all over the map, but
that's good because it's all over the map in the best
way. There are elements of drum and bass, electronic,
folk, indie rock, orchestral strings, hip-hop rythyms,
lou barlow-like bedroom tape collages, and noisy interludes.
OK, we've got a lot of ground to cover.
From the opening track of Yeti it starts with
a mix of noise and indie rock, basted in an electronic
glow of droney keyboards. Anyone who has seen Stereolab
play live in the good old days of the massive build
up of keyboard droning until it practically explodes
in your face will hear traces of that energy here.
From there we're off to the noisy interlude of Subotnick.
Short and quick, and the brash horn burst at the end
We then coast into A Final Warning, meandering
along the indie rock-folk-electronic path until it
picks up with the vocals (ahhhooum!) at which point
the drums build and fade away, build and fade away,
build and fade away. Then it gets quiet. OK, this
one gets kind of boring.
But that's OK, because then come the hip-hop beats
of Lord Leopard. Right back on focus.
Over in 97 seconds we move to Bees, a knee-slapping
folkiness. This could have been playing on the dashboard
radio when Jack Kerouac had his experiences
for On The Road. But then it sounds like recorders
in the background. Remember the recorder from elementary
school music class? The recorder, yo! The easiest
of woodwind instruments to play, the simplest sounding,
but effective because of its straight-forwardness.
Of course, everything up until now has been irrelevant,
because it's all a warm-up for what happens when we
get to Hello Hammerheads, a mid-tempo quiet
folkie acoustic bit. Brooding and deliberate.
Then on to the steady crispness of the rythyms for
Brahminy Kite. Quick and precise, like a marching
band on a mission to musical salvation. And they're
bringin' indie rock with them. "And I'm descending
all the time, pretending all the time, pretending
to be free." This might be my favorite song on
Then Drumheller starts out like something
Lou Barlow recorded in the back-back bedroom.
93 seconds. Some of these songs are over quickly,
like short attention span soundtracks for the modern
The final song Barnowl starts out like more
Stereolab hommage (in the best way), then moving
to folky-indie rock section, only to come back to
the funky blips and the droning and the keyboards
and the energy. In the end, Barnowl ends up
sounding as way out as sitting alone in a dark barn
at midnight watching an owl in his own world.
Oh gee, look at the time! I need to get out of this
article. Buy this album, it's very interesting. There
really is no direct comparison, Caribou doesn't
sound like anybody else. That's part of why this is
so interesting. It's also good because of they way
in which styles are mixed together. Anybody can mix
genres, but can they mix them together well? Caribou