Menu | Rating System | Guest Book | Archived Reviews:
A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

  CARIBOU w/ Russian Futurists  
  The Talbot  
  Wrexham, UK  
Reviewed by:
  Indoor Miner  
Performance Rating:
Sound Quality:
Overall Rating:

It was like being back in the 80s, because there on the stage was the classic singer/synth player line-up a la Soft Cell (and Erasure). People of Wrexham, give a warm hand to Toronto's Russian Futurists. Admittedly, they were something of a one trick pony with repetitive but melodic pop sung by a bearded chap (who occasionally reminded me of Joe Jackson) over cheesy 80s synths and drum machine. But there were some good tunes there, particularly the opening and closing numbers.

Nothing prepared me for Caribou though, certainly not their recent Milk Of Human Kindness CD, which is one of my favourite albums of 2005. But, as much as I like its tinkly approach to Krautrock, I didn't expect anything as hard-hitting as this. There were times when they were ferocious, including the opening moments when they just suddenly launched into about five seconds of loud, pounding madness in front of a flashing animated screen. Talk about grabbing the audience's attention!!!

They then settled down for a lengthy number that later burst suddenly into life when the singer/keyboard player/acoustic guitar player, Dan Snaith, became a second drummer. This left the guitarist to play along with the backing tapes whilst the drummers indulged in some kind of percussive warfare. Indeed Snaith hit his kit with such power that Mike Tyson in his peak would have struggled to match it, while the usual drummer mirrored it with an altogether more subtle approach. It was riveting, and, though it obviously lost the feeling of novelty when it was repeated throughout the set, this was incredibly intense stuff.

Caribou with acoustic guitar.

Members changed instruments throughout the set, with Snaith also being rather partial to a melodica and toy trumpet. Other than a mellow Hello Hammerheads to sooth us down, they barely let things slip. Otherwise, it was a set full of long numbers that would drift on with lovely little noodly bits here and there before sudden, precisely executed bursts of power would stop us in our tracks. Talk about light and shade. They might have one foot in the prog-camp in that their numbers would suddenly veer off to unexpected places. Still, whatever these musicians played was about enhancing the music, with none of that horrid "hey-look-at-me-I-can-really-play" mentality that tended to go hand in hand with prog-bands of yesteryear. This is a band that on at least one occasion gave me goosebumps, and, towards the end of the set, I closed my eyes to shut out the rest of the world. Those sounds were worth savouring…

Although they played some old stuff from their days as Manitoba, the bulk of the set was from the Milk of Human Kindness album, with the excellent single Yeti, the driving Barnowl, and a beautifully twangy Bees standing out. They ended with a superb A Final Warning, which I think sounds like Neu attempting Pinball Wizard.

I can give you all sorts of soundbites for this band: Krautrock for the 21st century, prog without the horrible fiddly bits or even, at times, Four Tet with Rat Scabies on drums. But, I will just end by saying that, live, these lads are little short of amazing. I can't believe more people aren't into them.

Caribou at work.


Related Links:

none available


Return to the top of this page. | Return to the Concert Review menu.