Words: Paul Page
Miike Snow’s eponymous debut album was something of a surprise sleeper hit in 2009. Its release garnered plenty of favourable interest, due in no small part to the involvement of Grammy award winning production duo Christian Karlsson and Pontus Winnberg (aka Bloodshy & Avant). Karlsson and Winnberg’s impressive roster of artists includes Britney Spears, Madonna and Kylie Minogue and together with American songwriter Andrew Wyatt on vocal duties, this Swedish based pop trio delivered an enjoyable if somewhat lightweight debut of House influenced electro-pop.
Their second album, Happy to You marks a major shift in focus – for the most part, the band have ditched their house influenced dance side for a more experimental, psychedelic pop sound.And they are all the better for it, as Happy to You is a marked improvement on their debut with some great moments and a surfeit of memorable hooks and choruses.
Sonically, the album positively GLISTENS – no surprise really, when you consider the credentials of those involved. Fans of Animal Collective & Ben Gibbard’s The Postal Service will find plenty to sink their teeth into here – the symphonic ‘Devils Work’ a particular highlight with its naggingly insistent piano line and rolling drumbeat. Second single ‘The Wave’ is another hook laden winner while ‘Black Tin Box’ sees fellow Swede, the ever wonderful Lykke Li duet with Wyatt on a darker slab of gothic electro-pop. It’s not all good news though. The studio wizardry and pristine production values cannot hide one glaring fact- there are very few truly great pop songs on here. ‘Devils Work’ aside, the album lacks two or three killer tunes that would propel this from being merely a good album to a great one.
For now, Abba’s crown as Sweden’s most successful pop export is safe, but there is enough here to suggest that Miike Snow are one to watch.