Miike Snow - Happy To You (Album Review)

Miike Snow – Happy To You - out 19/3/12 (when this link should work)

Judging from a quick Google, it appears to be quite the challenge to write about Miike Snow and their music without mentioning their (considerable) A-List credentials. So, if you are unfamiliar with them I’ve thoughtfully crafted a YouTube playlist of their highlights for your reference, scroll down.

For the rest of you, Miike Snow’s long awaited sophomore album, Happy To You arrived at Chez Soops yesterday morning 2 days early (from Amazon. Yes Amazon shipped it early. The Miike Snow surrealist experience appears to know no bounds). It’s been been on repeat ever since.

All those years preceding Miike Snow, that the three spent writing for other people, playing in other bands, dj-ing, producing , all that experience lay the foundations for the highly competent, cool, catchy, hook-filled delight of the debut. They sold over 200,000 copies. They delivered. Happy To You is a whole other creature. The band themselves have said that performing the last album live and so extensively was signficant to Happy To You. To me, it sounds like the music equivalent of three kids running riot in the sweetshop. Three expert kids that have tasted every variety of sweet in the place and know exactly what flavour works with what and in what order. Hell, chuck in the Willy Wonka analogies in if you must – the point is, it’s skilful play – they’ve racked up the experience, they’ve proved they can deliver , now they’re having fun with it.. It feels like the antithesis of suffocating, formulaic, dead behind the eyes, pop by numbers. In its eclecticism Happy To You expects to be cut up and put into playlists, for people to make it their own. The same with remixes - they know how it all works, they get it.

Highlights? Okay, so if you want your more classic Miike Snow if such a thing exists, we have ‘Pretender’, ‘The Wave’ and yeah, ‘Paddling Out’ is probably the Soccer AM track of the bunch. Then, we have the aforementioned psychedelic  earworm ‘Bavarian #1’ and ‘Black Tin Box’ with guest vocals from Lykke Li. My favourite (this week) is a tie between the epic ‘Devil’s Work’ and the slowest Miike Snow song to date, ‘God HelpThis Divorce’. The latter has been likened to the Beatles and MGMT by other reviewers. As someone that spent a significant segment of their childhood in the back of a car listening to Simon & Garfunkel’s A Bridge Over Troubled Water (we didn’t have many tapes), I’m calling it as a respectful nod to The Only Living Boy In New York. It’s a very sad, poignant, end credits kind of a song. So they put it right in the middle, obviously.

The fact that the band have a built an enormous instrument called The Blob indicates that this tour is going to be even more awesome than the last one. If I’m lucky enough to see them, you can put money on that I’m Cheshire catted throughout the whole show.