Miike Snow’s Happy To You: A Successful Knob-Fiddling

The electronic art pop of Scandinavian art pop band Miike Snow is all kinds of infectious–the dance club beats, echoing synth melodies, and sing-along lyrics make Euro electronica radio friendly but not “pop”–and, since their 2010 debut, have shown up on pretty much every DJ’s set.

Despite their insistence that their songs are more a result of knob-fiddling and messing around with tunes until something clicks than real planning, this isn’t synthesized emotion or accidental success. All three band members are ace producers–they’ve remixed tracks for everyone from Passion Pit to Peter, Bjorn and John–and definitely know their way around a soundboard.

For their second album, Happy To You, which came out today, they put that knowledge to good use, producing a more orchestral sound than before. You can hear pianos, string instruments, and snare drum rolls in between the fabricated beats–the track “Bavarian #1 (Say You Will)” perfectly encapsulates the new direction, with a drumline back beat, emotional, learn-after-one-listen lyrics, and a coursing, soaring, totally danceable melody. They stepped out of the steady bass box on multiple tracks, too, either slowing things down to an almost low-fi level on “Black Tin Box” (which features vocals from fellow Swede Lykke Li), or amping them up to disco levels on “Paddling Out” (So. Good. Perhaps this album’s “Animal?”).

It shows a lot of growth as a band; they’re pushing their talents, seeing where skills with a synthesizer can take them other than the club dance floor. It’s not too dancey for a listen at work or on the subway home, but they abandon their roots either; you could easily run through the entire album on a party playlist. Personally, I’ll be listening to this one on repeat for the next few weeks for sure. Sorry roommates, in advance.

Stream the whole album here.


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