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(SXSW 2016 flavoured!) Album Review: Miike Snow – iii

 
By on Wednesday, 23rd March 2016 at 12:00 pm
 

Miike Snow iii album coverChances are, if two-thirds of your outfit are a songwriting duo who have worked with the likes of Madonna, Britney Spears and Katy Perry, then you’re bound to hit some form of success. With Miike Snow, a collective consisting of producing duo Bloodshy & Avant along with singer Andrew Wyatt, who himself is no stranger to working with those who are unreachable by us mere mortals, notably Bruno Mars and his 2011 hit ‘Grenades’, we have all the ingredients for success. Naturally with these two forces ultimately joining up to create music, something was bound to stick, and stick it has.

Now on their third album, ‘iii’, Miike Snow show no sign of slowing down or loosening their metaphorical grip upon the indie/alternative dance world. ‘iii’ is a positively charged cycle of lustful and longing songs that will no doubt make various remix appearances around numerous clubs this summer. Opener ‘My Trigger’ is a piano-led upbeat number that perfectly sums up the approach of Miike Snow to songwriting, that being quantity over quality. Lyrically, the song is very weak, as are most of the lyrics on the record, with the highlight of this track coming from the line, “I’m in the graveyard, if looks could kill”. All style, no substance: not necessarily a bad thing, but unforgettable this maketh not.

The trouble with a group of producers/songwriters is that they tend to miss the flair and personality of an actual artist. We’re not so naive as to believe every single song in the charts currently was written by one singular, talented soul (there are obvious exceptions). There is always a crack team consisting of multiple movers and shakers who each has their own rhyming dictionary. But when you remove the artist, the body that brings some form of tangible life to the songs, it becomes a bit of a backing track almost, where you’re left waiting for the heartbeat to start.

For instance, with the latest single from the album, ‘Genghis Khan’, the foundations are certainly there. The music ticks all of the right boxes, a nice blending of vocal layering and low piano parts create a perfect storm. Once again though, lyrically, there are moments that stick but generally it becomes a bit throwaway. The song itself takes the perspective of two men who are chasing the same girl, with their own selfish motives, seemingly something that is found quite often in this millennial-driven world. We want everything now, even things that aren’t ours. As a song about selfishness, it’s quite pleasing.

[youtube]https://youtu.be/P_SlAzsXa7E[/youtube]

‘For U’, which features Charli XCX, is structurally very unsound. It feels more of an explosion of ideas rather than a careful melding. Her guest vocal is a pleasant break from the effects that Wyatt’s vocals are put through for the first half of the verses, which feel a bit unnecessary and just distract from the song itself. The entire album relies heavily upon repetition – something almost expected in music – but to the extent where every song becomes lodged in your head makes it had to discern exactly which ones are ok and those that are just annoying. ‘Over & Over’ has the most focused instrumentation, with a sharp distorted guitar riff kicking it off, leading into brooding and whispered vocals. It builds into a crescendo that isn’t completely pleasing, but resolving enough to leave you feeling as if you’ve heard something worthwhile.

At this point, it’s easier to give a brief summary of an album that, although it is pleasing, in the same way a One Direction greatest hits album would be. It’s very paint-by-numbers in both sound and lyrical content, proving that although certainly the people behind the songs are important, you can’t remove the personality and expect it to have the same impact.

5/10

‘iii’ is out now via Downtown / Atlantic Records. For our past TGTF coverage on Miike Snow, head this way.

 

Video of the Moment #1956: Miike Snow

 
By on Friday, 13th November 2015 at 6:00 pm
 

In terms of wild curveballs this year, I don’t think I could have ever expected this new sound and video from Miike Snow. I recently reminisced about having seen their shadowy, yet exciting live show as they coheadlined this gig with Jack Penate (where on earth is *he* now?) here in DC at Rock ‘n’ Roll Hotel in 2009. Back then, they were famous for their quirky self-titled album, which included the slightly odd but oh so catchy ‘Animal’. Now they’ve returned in autumn 2015 with…wait for it…an r&b reboot?

‘Heart is Full’ is the first taste of their upcoming third album, oh so appropriately titled ‘iii’, due out via Downtown / Atlantic Records next year. Have a watch of the action-packed, Lance Drake-directed promo below. For all of TGTF’s coverage on Miike Snow the way they used to be, go here.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EWJHK0JT_Xc[/youtube]

 

Live Gig Video: Miike Snow film themselves at Hard Festival in Los Angeles for ‘Pretender’ promo

 
By on Tuesday, 25th September 2012 at 4:00 pm
 

Here is Miike Snow‘s promo video for ‘Pretender’, off their 2012 album ‘Happy to You’. The premise is a good one; if you’re going to be at a music festival, why not shoot footage of your time there so you can take it and turn it into a music video? I don’t think you really need a storyline, but the YouTube description says this: “The video finds their friend Jean Noel experiencing his first festival and learning all about the culture that surrounds.” And it was filmed while this mate of theirs was bumbling around the Hard Summer Music Festival in Los Angeles the first weekend of August. Watch it below.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k6kcYqFuSko[/youtube]

 

Live Gig Video: Lykke Li and Andrew Wyatt of Miike Snow perform at NYC’s Bowery Hotel

 
By on Wednesday, 2nd May 2012 at 4:00 pm
 

Thanks to a heads-up from the woman herself, Lykke Li was filmed recently performing a brand new song at the Bowery Hotel in New York City. The impromptu performance, which also included Andrew Wyatt of Miike Snow playing in the background, was part of the launch new Swedish label/collective Ingrid. The video quality isn’t great, but it’s pretty cool Lykke Li was so willing to share a new song she’d written the night before in public.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FU7VFs-xJmY[/youtube]

 

Video of the Moment #706: Miike Snow

 
By on Thursday, 9th February 2012 at 6:00 pm
 

In the promo video for Miike Snow‘s ‘Paddling Out’, your everyday John Doe get abducted by aliens and is turned into a breakdancing Iggy Pop…? You can’t make this stuff up. Watch the video below.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nzxYUsnZV6M[/youtube]

 

Single Review: Miike Snow – Devil’s Work

 
By on Monday, 19th December 2011 at 12:00 pm
 

I’m not sure where I stand with the new Miike Snow single that’s been giving some people in the internet full-out ecstasy. I don’t hear it. Make no mistake, I enjoyed their self-titled debut from 2009 (review here) so much, I saw them twice (the first time in DC and then again at Roskilde last year) promoting their then fresh material. Two years passes and the 1/3rd American, 2/3rd Swedish band put out this single, ‘Devil’s Work’.

With a name like that, you need to bring it. With the strong, banging piano at the front, there is a sense of promise. ‘Miike Snow’ succeeded by doing two things very well: inherent whimsical fun (‘Animal’, ‘Burial’) or dark sexiness (‘Silvia’, ‘Black and Blue’); I guess these are the things I am missing here. When I first heard this song, I immediately thought this is what doomed the last Chems album: they’re attempting to write the perfect soundtrack. So imagine my laughter finding out Miike Snow had a ‘film accompaniment’ to this song (which I’ve included under the downloadable stream below). Spoiler alert: the video is just a person running down a stretch of motorway in the desert. Like the song, it goes nowhere.

I wanted to love this, I really did. But I’m just not feeling it. (The Guardian is saying this first song is “inspiring the likes of Coldplay”– oh good god.) Frankly, I’m terrified about the new album.

6/10

I can’t find release info for the single in the UK but I’m seeing it is being released in North America tomorrow (20 December) so hopefully it’s available in the UK now too. The second album from Miike Snow has an unknown release date.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4hFxG7EwzFk[/youtube]

 
 
 

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There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF is edited by Mary Chang, who is based in Washington, DC. She is joined by writers in England, America and Ireland. It began as a UK music blog by Phil Singer in 2005.

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