Back in 2003, the graduating class of laptop music seemed so promising. There was Kieran Hebden's Four Tet project, realizing a pastoral folk-flecked strain of electronica for Rounds. If you liked your beats hip-hop blocky and hectic, there was Scott Heren's Prefuse 73 disc, One World Extinguisher. And for those who wanted to hear computers replicate shoegaze rock, there was Dan Snaith's project as Manitoba, Up in Flames. How quickly those laptoppers have veered off course: Hebden's now obsessed with being an improvising jazzbo, Heren believes he can make bossa nova, while Snaith faced a lawsuit from former Dictators singer Handsome Dick Manitoba and quickly became Caribou. All the while, he kept gobbling the sunshine acid of Sixties pop and psychedelia for deployment in his own music.
Andorra, his fourth full-length (and first for Merge), opens with "Melody Day," a honeysuckle-sweet burst of summer pop. Pinwheels of Keith Moon drums whirl, Snaith's whispered falsetto hits ludicrously high notes, and flutes flutter about like butterflies. It's not that his sonic palette has necessarily expanded over the course of his career, as Snaith's still obsessed with the airy pop of the Beach Boys and the Millennium, but it has deepened. On "After Hours" and "Niobe," he adds a mesmeric pulse reminiscent of Silver Apples. Friend Jeremy Greenspan from Junior Boys makes like Mike Love on the pillowy "She's the One." More so than on his previous efforts, listening to Andorra's tracks is akin to gazing into a lava lamp, sure to create a more kaleidoscopic outlook.
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