“Can’t Do Without You,” the opening track of Dan Snaith’s fourth release as Caribou, Our Love, is liquid MDMA. It is a titanic song that takes one stark, simple loop, “I can’t do without you,” and builds it up to a song that could shake a dancefloor. Its repeated refrain is endlessly explorable, taking over your entire concentration for its four-minute run.
Unlike most modern dance tracks, you can listen to “Can’t Do Without You” a hundred times without getting sick of it, even though it never reaches a climax, or even a chorus. It’s the sonic equivalent of getting ready; it builds and builds, without really ending up anywhere. EDM-heads that are all about the drop will wonder what the point is, but Snaith has carved out a very different kind of electronic music that echoes life: it’s not about the drop; it’s about the build. “Can’t Do Without You” has only been around for a couple of months, but it already feels like one of the best songs of the decade.
The rest of Our Love proves that Snaith is worthy of high praise. Married with children, Snaith is an unlikely character to be creating some of the most forward-thinking electronic music today. Though 2010’s Swim was considerably dance-influenced, Snaith’s background is in alternative rock bands, and he holds a doctorate in mathematics. A Canadian, Snaith moved to London in 2001 where he took cues from his close friend, Kieran Hebden (aka Four Tet). Since then, Snaith has been quietly creating some of the most astonishing electronic music of the last decade under his Caribou moniker as well as his dance alias, Daphni.
Our Love finds Snaith at the height of his powers. “Silver” is an undulating, synth-based burner that floats above itself as though in a dream, and the percussive “Mars” recalls Swim’s dizzying “Sun.” The title track “Our Love” perfectly thematizes the album, both in its depiction of “our love” and in its rhythmic thud: the fractured bass and snare that defines the genre, and makes those in the room want to dance. The sexy “Second Chance” features Jessy Lanza singing “Tell me if you really want it / Cause boy you know I do,” and the two-minute long “Julia Brightly” sounds like it arrives from another planet, looping just a couple of words into its soundscape so many times they become incomprehensible. “Back Home” and “Your Love Will Set You Free” offer a compelling conclusion and a soundtrack to the end of the night.
But Our Love finds its whole through its simple but effective theme: group love. Dance music has never been this inviting, this shareable, and this appreciable among a wide audience that ranges from indie to electronic lovers. This is music that brings people together, and some of its most prolific tracks could be stretched out to seven or eight minutes to give you more time to dance. Songs like “Can’t Do Without You” never want to end, and “Our Love” is a post-disco classic, but they’ll get the remix treatment, and have already been given extended mixes by Snaith’s Daphni persona. Our Love is a dance album that feels club-ready, and yet so real that it echoes daily life. It’s the kind of album that you dance to with your best friends at the end of the night.