Miike Snow
Happy to You

(Downtown/Universal)

Verdict:

No second album syndrome in sight for Swedish alt-pop act

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With hooks and hummable melodies to burn, Miike Snow's 2008 debut was so full of alt-pop ear candy that it was nearly impossible not to enjoy it. So it was no surprise to learn that two of the Swedish band's three members moonlight as Bloodshy & Avant - chart-topping pop writers-for-hire, used by the likes of Britney Spears and Madonna.

That would normally be enough to send hipsters running for the hills, but on their second album, Miike Snow use those production skills to craft a denser, moodier album that's even better and more inventive than the first.

There are still plenty of piano-based electro-anthems, like the post-rave stomp of Paddling Out, the skittery dubstep throb of The Wave and the summery vibes of Bavarian #1 - songs that will swirl around in your head for days and demand repeat plays. But there's a darkness to tracks like Black Tin Box with its twisted vocals sending chills down the spine, while singer Andrew Wyatt drops lines like "the murderer in me" (on Archipelago) and "you don't need to sell your shirt to do the devil's work" (Devil's Work) throughout the album.

And they hit their stride on Vase by marrying hip-hop beats to spooky synths and including a chorus so simple it could be a nursery rhyme - final proof that Miike Snow are a thinking man's pop act.

- TimeOut