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Andorra

4.4 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

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Audio CD, August 21, 2007
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

ANDORRA

Amazon.com

Sleigh Bells. Multi-tracked, bombastic drums. Gentle falsettos. Flutophone. Flutophone? Just some of what you'll encounter in the first few minutes of Andorra. For those unaware, Andorra is a small country nestled between Spain and France, and Caribou is one Don Snaith, formerly known as Manitoba (he switched names after threat of lawsuit by ex-pro wrestler Richard "Handsome Dick" Manitoba. No joke.). Andorra continues Snaith's trajectory since 2003's Up in Flames, when he shed the IDM and electronic cocoon of his earlier work for the sun-soaked psychedelic maelstrom (and live band) that continues to date. Snaith has found a new level of focus within the confines of his swirling laboratory and the result is an exhausting slab of avant-pop. '60s grab-bag comparisons here are inevitable. "Melody Day" is remarkably like The United States of America in its soft, falsetto melody and freakbeat drums. The Silver Apples robotic bass line pop of "Sandy" gives it a mechanical propulsion that cuts through its curtains of noise. "After Hours" is Soft Machine reincarnate. "Irene" is a melancholy drum machine-backed pop tune, until it gives way to white noise (literally--or is that pink noise?). The unifier of Snaith's compositions remains the ubiquitous, multi-tracked drum onslaught, but the confidence in his vocals (and subsequently, the melodic appeal) increases with every release. The few missteps, like "Desiree," which falls flat in its meandering, do not deter the overall success of this outing. Half a century of studio experimentation has informed and enhanced the recipe for blissing out, and Caribou cooks up another batch here for your immersion. --Jason Pace
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (August 21, 2007)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Merge Records
  • ASIN: B000SM7R3I
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #153,103 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 20, 2007
Format: Audio CD
I am not sad that Caribou has been absent for the past few years. Not a bit.

For the record, that doesn't mean that I don't like his music. In fact, I'm glad because Caribou (also known as Daniel V. Snaith) apparently spent his time coming up wiyj "Andorra," an album of psychedelic folkpop that stands way above his past work. It's a magical, almost transcendent little album that never allows you to be bored.

It opens with a swirling, lush little melody, full of bells and twittering flute. "Melody day/what have I done?" Snaith murmurs softly. "Now our hearts are locked up tight again/and when I pray its all begun/and when you smile it melts away again..."

That sound is echoed in "Sandy," which straddles the fence between pastoral pop and psychedelica. And it echoes in the songs that follow: swirling folkpop, languorous indie-rockers, soaring psychedelica, sunny breezy pop melodies, delicate electropop, and ending with the darker, shimmering "Niobe."

"Andorra" is a pretty big departure from Caribou's past work -- he started with jazzy electronica, then dense electro-guitarpop and then the free-form psychedelic dementafolk of "The Milk of Human Kindness." This one sounds more like a 1966 acid trip in a summery meadow -- it's just pure, magical psychedelica, with moments of indie-rock and krautrock thrown in.

It's also his most conventionally poppy work, but that's not a bad thing. While his past works were more about exploration than melody, this one is sheer beauty, with lots of peppy melodies swathed in the instrumentation. "Desiree," for example, is a pretty typical love ballad, but smothered in a cloud of tinkling chimes, jabbing violins and delicate synth.
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Format: Audio CD
2007 seems to be quietly turning into another 2005 for Canadian music. The Besnard Lakes, Do make Say Think, Stars, The New Pornographers and Broken Social Scene's Kevin Drew have come out with new material... and then there's "Andorra" by Caribou, a production with a very psychedelic feel to it, which yields a super-stellar album when combined with Caribou's typical electronic experimentation.

There are moments when you feel you could be in front of Beck, but then you know it's not him. You then figure: it sounds a bit like The Besnard Lakes: perhaps, but still not there. I guess the easiest way to picture this album is: imagine how The Beach Boys would sound if blended with 1966-1967 Beatles experimentation, had they come to life in an age where digital audio production was available.

This was my introduction to Caribou... and made me feel like I owe it to myself to dig back in this guy's discography to find which other musical jewels I may be able to unearth. I will report back any findings. In the meantime, enjoy "Andorra".
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Format: MP3 Music
I got this album from my local library and gave it a few listens. I had heard some good things about Caribou, so I figured I'd give them a try. They have a nice indie rock sound with some electronica thrown in. It makes for an interesting sound, and it made very nice background music as I was doing other things like surfing the internet and reading. The individual songs, however, had little to offer. None of the songs stuck with me, in fact as soon as I finished my third listen and put something else on, the music completely slipped from my mind. It's one of those atmospheric albums that works as a cohesive unit but if a song comes up on iTunes at random you skip to another song. I realize that many people like that in a record. I usually do, but I need just a little bit more - a catchy song, a repeated motif, or at least some carefully placed hooks (see the Slip's "Eisenhower"). I couldn't give it below a 3 - but also couldn't give it anything higher.

If you like Radiohead or Elbow (2 bands that this reminded me of), then maybe you'll like this. I'd recommend listening to the samples first, though, to get a taste of what you're in for.
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Format: MP3 Music
My rating: 9 out of 10

The opening track of Andorra, "Melody Day," is a fantastic sample of what Caribou is capable of; a dreamy atmosphere, a great use of electronica, and music that is not easy to forget. Combining electronica with the Beach Boys, Caribou creates luscious sounds and makes music that is instantly enjoyable. The songs "Melody day", "After Hours", and "Sundialing" are upbeat, fun, and danceable. Other songs like "Sandy", and "Desiree" are reminiscent of sixties bands like the Byrds, and the Mamas and the Papas; but the guitar, drums, and poppy electronica keep the sound very modern. The looping of "do"s on She's the One is surprisingly fascinating, and gives the song a complex texture.

The lyrics are sometimes very personal, "There's nothing left I can say/To stop it ending this way/I think you wanted me here/To watch it all disappear", and add emotion to an already powerful collection of songs. At other times, the lyrics are a little too abstract; "And in your summer sky and in the air/Have you forgotten how you got us here/While I remember how much I care." But when listening to Caribou, one doesn't focus too much on the words; the instrumentation is what makes Andorra such a delight and Daniel Snaiths's vocals(while quite good in their own right) are more like an afterthought to the delicious sounds.

The light sounds of this album are refreshing, and full of inspiration.
Favorite tracks: Melody Day, Sundialing, Eli
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