Despite having a rather peculiar appellation, Miike Snow is anything but strange. In fact, Scandinavian pop marvels Pontus Winnberg and Christian Karlsson make a living constructing some of the best conventional dance tracks riding high on the pop charts. That’s not to say they’re one-dimensional mainstream hacks. Instead, the cool-headed Stockholm-based studio wiz kids have flourished beyond expectations, especially since classically-trained New York-based singer/musician Andrew Wyatt came aboard in ’07 and Miike Snow was conceived.
Indeed, Pontus and Christian gained mass exposure during ’04 when they provided lethal string-sneered Spaghetti Western-doused dramatics to Britney Spears’ steamy hit single, “Toxic.” Other high profile vixens benefiting from their crafty compositional exploits and toiling production duties include Madonna, Jennifer Lopez, Kelis, Ms. Dynamite, and Christina Milian.
Yet Miike Snow’s dynamic pop-styled effervescence, full of similarly luxurious textural designs, quests for serious underground credibility on their spellbinding self-titled debut. Alongside MGMT, the retro-futurist trio leads the new wave-informed synth-pop-injected Electro-rock resurgence sweeping ‘09’s indie universe. Though hearkening back to a few tangible post-punk stylists like Thompson Twins (xylophone-twinkled ballad “Sans Soleil”) and New Order (buzzy Goth disco slayer “Plastic Jungle”), these are merely endearingly prescient comparisons.
Arguably, the most accessible track on Miike Snow’s eponymous disc also sums up their overall sound best. Expressing sincere rainy day melodramatics, sullen downbeat tearjerker, “A Horse Is Not A Home,” captures all the despair and desolation each succeeding sad entreaty seemingly desires to identify.
Vibrating keyboard flourishes, pulsing submarine bleats, and high-pitched echo-droned harmonics engulf puzzled misanthropic sentiment, “Animal” (where Andrew’s soothing voice recalls Sting’s early Police vocalizing to great affect). On “Black & Blue,” a lounge-y interstellar melancholia climaxes with chilling Prince-induced falsettos. “Silvia” brings galactic Kraftwerk machinations to a solitude love requiem before hushed guitar-plucked anodyne “Song For No One” swirls into outer-space. Lilting piano and chimes float through and counteract the hastening drum march consuming tranquil trip-hop entombment, “Burial.”
So get cuddled up around the fireplace while Miike Snow’s musical chestnuts roast on the open fire during a stormy white-powdered winter night.
How would you describe Miike Snow’s sound?
We try to do something a little more interesting than straight-up pop. We try to build on something truthful and you can’t really until you take in all the music that’s moved you in your lifetime and let it show up in there.
What influences do you share with Christian and Pontus?
Aphex Twins, Kraftwerk, Royksopp. We’re all fans of David Bowie’s ‘70s music from Hunky Dory to Lodger. Christian has a better knowledge of ‘90s hip-hop. Pontus has a better knowledge of classical music. I have the most knowledge of jazz and experimental music— Husker Du, the Swans, Current 93.