professor snaith


(image courtesy of cbc.ca)

Who: Caribou (with Fuck Buttons)

When: April 11th

Where: Empty Bottle, Chicago, IL

Each of Dan Snaith’s albums are like time-traveling throughout pop music.

Judging by that picture, can you imagine anyone more likely to soup up a DeLorean?

Then again, the guy does have a PhD in mathematics–and it shows. Since his pre-trademark-bullshit days as Manitoba and in his current incarnation, Caribou, Snaith has spent his waking hours adding and subtracting and multiplying odd sounds, and somehow the final product always turns out to be melodic without sounding purely calculated. His most recent effort, “Andorra,” explores Elephant 6-style appropriations of dreamy 60s pop, shimmering with multi-layered production and quadrupled-over harmonies with catchy–and often beautiful–results.

Mathematical minds making music seem to be a boring proposition to the average music fan, but Snaith finds a balance between cold computation and tuneful imagination that makes for a pleasing session with headphones.

They’ll be playing two shows here in Chicago without the help of their drummer, who recently injured his arm when he fell off a ladder. He’ll probably be missed, as the quick crashing drumming plays a vital part in Snaith’s songcraft. Still, it’s not every day you a can witness a frontman with a dissertation–unless you’re waiting until the next time the Offspring rolls into town. And aren’t we all?

Caribou – “Bees”

It sounds like a crackling lost krautrock b-side being tossed like a Frisbee through parks and city streets. “Bees” ropes you in with what sounds like a slick old Velvets lick, then it morphs into a mix of muted sirens and horns before building to a climax of cymbals and snares and whistles.


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