Review of Mike Snow's self-titled debut album.
Pleasantries all round for Miike Snow, who in interviews sound like the politest band in the world. They're from Sweden, and formed partially out of production duo Bloodshy and Avant, which goes some way to explaining the impossibly polished sheen on their debut album. They have quite an impressive roster as producers: Britney's supreme reinvention on 'Toxic', Sugababes and Kylie Minogue to name but a few. So to be expected, there's not a note or effect out of place on Miike Snow and edgy little electronic flourishes are everywhere. The spare use of piano supplies the pathos: they clearly intend to inject a little bit of soul into their glossy pop.
Singles 'Animal' and 'Black and Blue' have both enjoyed heavy rotation on radio and not without due credit, both of them are solid pop songs. 'Animal' opens the album and it's a good place to start; the infectious chorus is irrefutably something you'll end up whistling in the shower. 'Black and Blue' is a little more sombre to start but swells to become one of the noisiest points on 'Miike Snow.' Not that that's saying much of course, Andrew Wyatt's voice is barely a ponderous whisper most of the time.
This delicate charm is enchanting in certain places, for example on a song like 'Burial' which is so fragile that it seems close to breaking point. But inevitably, the flip side of this is that they can also be rather brittle and uninteresting too. The better songs flesh out the first half of the record but 'Sans Soleil' is unremarkable, 'Cult Logic,' with its pounding intro, never really progresses anywhere. 'Plastic Jungle' brings yet another stomping hook of a backing track, but it sounds odd - as if it was written with a girl band in mind but discarded. Listening to the recur again and again on this album, it's obvious what side of the sound desk Miike Snow's strengths lie on.
In short, what you have here is a collection of half decent singles, coupled with a few m.o.r. ballads and electro-pop misfires. It's not awful - there are a couple of lovely tracks - but not a full album's worth. Pale, but not always interesting.