Miike Snow – Fotografiska, Stockholm, Sweden – Live review

Originally published: NME magazine

If the trio behind Miike Snow have proven anything from their careers thus far, it’s that they know how to produce a clean and crisp pop tune. While American-born singer/composer Andrew Wyatt aided and enriched the likes of Carl Barât and Mark Ronson’s most recent offerings, the Swedish songwriting team of Christian Karlsson and Pontus Winnberg (Bloodshy & Avant, respectively) are better known as the chaps that penned Britney Spear’s Grammy-winning ‘Toxic’ – and saving her shorn head from the career chopping block in the process. They know what it takes to collaborate and compose pop music with all its fragility, guilty pleasures and clarity, which their 2009 self-titled debut went on to prove. So what the France is that awful, discordant din being vomited from the speakers?

Blurp Blurp Blurp, Blurp Blurp Blurp. Miike Snow are two songs into their set at The Swedish Museum of Photography when the smoke machine triggers a flappable fire alarm system into action. The procession-like drumming that was driving ‘The Wave’ (the opening track to their forthcoming album ‘Happy To You’) is now stumbling to a panicked stop, and the venue is gripped in a state of paralysis. It’s not the airing that they would have wished for their new material, but the doors are flung open and the –2 °C ‘Swedish Spring’ breeze puts their pop embers on ice for 45-minutes.

Their return is cool and calculated. Christian and Pontus man a TARDIS-like console with esoteric dials, buttons and lights, and weave ‘Cult Logic’, ‘Bavarian #1’ and ‘Burial’ into the next. Humoured by their false start, Wyatt is animated and at ease; his vocal maintaining a beautifully detached quality that haunts each track.

Kick-starting their tour in front of a courteous home crowd, much of their set is spent gauging the new songs. ‘Paddling Out’ flourishes with contagious, dance-driven hooks; ‘God Help This Divorce’ and ‘Black Tin Box’ mirror Phil Collins at his best; while ‘Devil’s Work’ tenses and releases with a Stone Roses baggy whomp, rousing horns and stuttering drums. Previous album singles ‘Black and Blue’ and set closer ‘Animal’ have a new, loping life to them, proving their weight and Miike Snow’s glistening pop credentials.

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