Four years since their last album Happy To You which saw better reviews but lesser sales than their self-titled debut, and it was fair to assume that the weird experiment that was Miike Snow had run its course. Christian “Bloodshy” Karlsson had moved on to form Galantis, Pontus “Avant” Winnberg seemed to have gone to ground, while vocalist Andrew Wyatt was popping up on tracks with Mark Ronson and Flume.
So it was great when they dropped ‘Heart Is Full’ back in October, earmarking a slight departure from their normally chilly, electro sound, thanks to the soul-samples and horn-heavy production. From there on in though, the singles have been business as usual; R’n’B-singed ‘Genghis Khan’, with that super ear-worm’y “Dooo-oooo-doooo-oooo” chant and the almost hilarious chorus of “I get a little bit Genghis Khan, I don’t want you to get it on, with anyone but me”, as well as warm and fuzzy, synth-laden ‘The Heart Of Me’.
The odd thing is, for guys who produced ‘Toxic’ for Britney, worked on some virus-level catchy songs for Madonna, Kylie and Jennifer Lopez, as well as Galantis ruling the charts and festivals in the last twelve months, Miike Snow has never really felt all that concerned with pleasing the masses. The closest thing to an actual club-banger is ‘For U’ with Charli XCX, which does have the pleasingly booming base and uniquely quirky sound that if they had’ve produced for someone else – like, say, Britney – it would’ve been a huge worldwide hit.
Everywhere else, they’re perfectly content to just do their own thing, and while every song here contains a number of hooks that just about every pop act in the world would sell their first born for, under the thumb of Miike Snow, they’re twisted and turned into something much more left of centre. ‘Lonely Life’ sounds like Air back when they were at the top of their game, ‘Over And Over’ comes on like a less intimidating Nine Inch Nails track, and the production on ‘Back Of The Car’ could have come from Dr. Dre, except that Wyatt’s vocal delivery sends the entire thing off in a different direction.
iii‘s all-pervading air is one of melancholy, but the kind of sadness that you still find yourself finger-clicking along to. It doesn’t make a lot of sense, but it works. Much like Miike Snow on the whole, really.