Miike Snow: Live Review, Nottingham Rescue Rooms, 10 February 2010
I walk into Nottingham’s Rescue Rooms secretly thinking that nothing will be able to top The Horrors gig here last year. But not only do Sweden’s finest gang of musicians and uber producers Miike Snow hurl egg on my face, they leave me thinking that there must be a God somewhere who’s hell-bent on shovelling glorious music down my ears.
Five guys wearing eery white dummy masks walk onto the tiny stage picking their way through a huge assortment of synthesisers, control boxes, guitars and drums, bathed in shafts of blue light and accompanied by an intro of soft electronic bleeps. It forms the build up to Cult Logic, one of the standout tracks on Miike Snow’s self-titled debut album.
Lo-fi melodic pop, underscored with a fearsome, throbbing edge
A masked Andrew Wyatt coos his pitch-perfect vocal into the mic while playing a synth that’s been rather wonderfully fashioned into a piano as Christian Karlsson and Pontus Winnberg add layers of alternating but dominant synths, one guy twiddles knobs and another beats a drumpad. Its lo-fi melodic pop, underscored with a fearsome, throbbing edge.
The deep throb never fades away and takes us firmly into Black & Blue, which sees the quintet proceed to fire their musical arsenal at the jam-packed crowd. The track builds ever upwards into a cavalcade of fierce power pop, laced with blissful electronic and vocal harmonies. You can see the influence of Animal Collective clearly, but there’s a raw urgency to this lot that has shades of heavy metal, as well as pop and electro.
Think Animal Collective mixed with stylised, electronic wizardry of Kraftwerk
Far from being pretentious posers, Miike Snow are extremely talented musicians with a keen ear for the intricate minutae of sound. They finally all rip their masks off to a deafening applause from the packed out crowd. Think Animal Collective mixed with the stylised, electronic wizardry of Kraftwerk and you’ll be close to what Miike Snow are like live. It’s hard to believe that I’m witnessing this stellar performance in the Rescue Rooms. Awesome!
And it just gets better. A Horse Is Not A Home (that’s some good advice) rears up with Sylvia, and the subdued beauty of Wyatt’s vocals contrast with the chunky, robotic artifice of the synths. This develops yet again with Plastic Jungle, which sees shredded guitar noise being thrown over a sleazy electronic thumping. Just when things can’t feasibly get any better, We’re treated to the squelchy beats and blissful vocal chants of Animal.
Wyatt announces that he smells like he’s from biblical times. Nice.
Wyatt goes off on one with his guitar at the climax of the track, but he’s not doing anything with it except whirling it over people’s heads, then his own, then looking like he wants to hurl it somewhere but not doing so. Hmm, that old Swedish reserve from his bandmates is clearly rubbing off on the American! After this bizarre fit, he announces that he smells like he’s from biblical times. Nice.
We’re seen off (quite literally, it appears that this lot have no idea about what an encore is) with the immense pulsating vibes of In Search Of, which build up into a colossal wall of sound for about eight minutes. They walk off the stage one by one as each of their samples ends, leaving me gazing in awe at what I’ve just witnessed. Outside, small flakes of white snow fall from the sky. Spectacular.