Having reached their second album, “Happy To You”, it is clear that Miike Snow are into raves, or at least the music that played at some of them. But since they couldn’t attend any because of their age (unless their parents were very negligent), they have had to create their own image. Furthermore - perhaps because they come from cold, sober Sweden - judging from their productions, their idea of these parties seems very different from the original. The summer partying that they evoke has all of the indispensable services. For example, the people attending don’t take a piss behind the bushes in the woods, instead there are clean toilets. The ravers aren’t wearing brightly-coloured track suits, but rather they dress well; some of them even in dinner jackets, as one might expect of wealthy people like themselves. And here comes the most important thing: the sound system doesn’t suck - it’s the latest equipment.
This is what comes to my mind every time I listen to the colossal “Paddling Out”, which is now their best song to date (yes, it’s better than “Animal” and “Sylvia”). It is a wild feast of summer beats, with really good vibes, that makes you want to leave your office and walk straight into the first discotheque you come across. The recipe is relatively simple and doesn’t stray too far from the sound of other contemporary bands – such as Friendly Fires - who are also excited by the 90s. They employ hyperactive pianos that mark your every step, more rises in speed than a rollercoaster, and a simple, effective chorus so that all of the girls will be blowing out the club’s dance floor to the tune of: “And you say isn’t it hard paddling out?”. The only hitch is that it lasts just over three and a half minutes, so you are forced to hit the repeat button until the end of time (the remixes, even though one of them is by Jacques Lu Cont, don’t do it justice).
“Paddling Out” is one of the songs that best exemplifies the Swedes’ modus operandi. They throw you the party of the century, but they manage to do it in such a way that their fringes don’t move for even a second. They don’t need dirty beats, tacky whistles, or anything like that to keep spirits high. Although they slow the beat down, “Devil’s Work” moves in similar waters; a luxurious display of instruments that was unthinkable in 1988 (and for many current groups in their line). The pianos don’t disappear, but strings are added, alongside a feast of brass instruments including a trumpet, trombone, French horn, and flugelhorn, among others (there are a number of guest stars). Their current single, “The Wave”, is another of the more baroque songs on “Happy To You”, but the trio knows how to control themselves so that you never get fed-up (their percussion is deliciously deafening). Also exuberant is the lovely, crystalline “God Help This Divorce”, where they take on folk. However, where they sound the best when they calm it down is in “Black Tin Box”, a sort of wet dream for Swedish indie pop fans. The song has those dark echoes that sound like The Knife and also Lykke Li’s vocals, which is always a plus.
Although the trio has only put out two albums, it is clear here that they have a firm hand for manufacturing pop anthems with an ease that is insulting (and we still haven’t mentioned the piano house and whistles of “Pretender” and “Bavarian #1 (Say You Will)”, even though they deserve it). But this has more to do with the fact that before Miike Snow, they participated in other projects. Andrew Wyatt has been in a thousand bands and Christian Karlsson and Pontus Winnberg made a career for themselves some years ago; as prestigious mainstream producers working for artists like Madonna, Kylie Minogue and Britney Spears (with whom they won a Grammy for Best Dance Recording thanks to the unarguable hit that is “Toxic”). Although this doesn’t take any merit away from them, it is only fair to say that the boys have pulled another catchy, entertaining album out of the hat.