EDM’s rise has been a boon to studio rats, who no longer have to choose between dance or pop audiences when tailoring their creations. That’s led to some unlikely companions, both in the studio and onstage. Just look at Miike Snow. Before the group got its legs, its claim to fame was that Swedish members Christian Karlsson and Pontus Winnberg picked up a Grammy for producing Britney Spears’s “Toxic.” But you’d never confuse Spears for Miike Snow mouthpiece Andrew Wyatt, whose voice is permanently encased in an eerie, elfin register.
Wyatt prods his knob-twiddling pals toward some mysterious heights on Miike Snow’s Happy to You. The album’s fit to power a rave, but Karlsson and Winnberg’s vision transcends the Perry’s stage; the award-winning duo prefers to build with ornamented components that are then bound to a trance undercarriage. Two of the disc’s strongest tracks—“Devil’s Work” and “Pretender”—ride the same pulsing piano rhythm heard on practically every house track, but with Wyatt’s otherworldly pipes they take on another dimension.
It’s hard not to wonder where the band’s live show would go if it didn’t have to contend with crowd expectations. One of Happy’s moodier cuts, the Lykke Li–enhanced “Black Tin Box,” has an extraterrestrial quality. It’s a beautifully disturbed piece—an antidote to EDM that goth loyalists wouldn’t bat an eye at. But the question remains: Do bummer jams have a place at the Congress?