After years of waiting, iii, the appropriately titled third album from Swedish electropop act Miike, has made its heavily anticipated release. After singles "I Feel The Weight" and the "Genghis Khan" provided a small taste of the wild synths and disorienting vocal tracks laden with eerie pitch changes, the full product has arrived and it doesn't disappoint.
The album's first two tracks, "My Trigger" and "The Heart of Me," set the experience with vibrant and bluesy piano tracks which get enveloped in wailing, swirly, experimental synths and thudding bass tracks. The wacky, moaning vocals, which have been super-heavily processed provide for a quirky trademark to the songs that add to the catchiness and intentionally over-processed vibel. While the singles gave a good taste of what to expect, the album should be experienced in full, because there's real momentum to it going from one track to the next.
Lyrically, the album is ambiguous and carefree, but at the same time, there's a fascinating method of deliverance in the singing which redeems the lyrical topics being a bit all over the place. There's something to be said about the trio's trance-inducing and promiscuous electro-pop being driven, oddly enough, by piano chords on most songs. It's hard to understand how that manages to work but it does.
"Heart Is Full" takes the experience in another direction, with sampling effects that seem cut-and-paste on the surface, but there's tons of instruments and instrumental voices that get mashed up together into a song that becomes (in a good sense) a weird collage of a jam. The mix featuring Run The Jewels is one hell of a collaboration and has set the stage for a new genre we can only hope the trio might try to delve into.
"For U," which features Charli XCX, may take the cake as the weirdest track on the album. The song is choppy and distorted throughout with wild electronic riffs and vocal effects that sound even more robotic than the precedence Miike Snow has set for that sort of a thing. "I Feel The Weight" exemplifies the ways in which Miike Snow totally embellishes a hyper-processed and alien sound in the best way possible. The dreamy haze of the track is haunting and heavy, sounds somehow both processed and organic at the same time and is uncomfortably slow.
The later tracks on the album start to bleed together, though each offer their own strange, funky and alien vibes that are geared more towards being danceable than the earlier tracks. "Over and Over" has a tribal thumping to it which oddly enough has some sludgy guitars and rock organs thrown into the mix. Like many other tracks on this album, "unorthodox" is an incredibly fitting word for the way the song is built, in a good way.
"Longshot" is another one of those Miike Snow tracks where there's a super-unorthodox kind of clashing of two worlds that they can totally pull off. Backed by a reggae beat, there's a catchy string section that sounds like a chamber pop verse from the 60s.
Some words that convey the experience of iii: psychedelic, industrialized, cartoonish, spacey, alien, otherworldly. Miike Snow's third album is full of surprises and action. The wild mixes and mad sound effects are something the group has mastered and utilized to the fullest extent on the album. It's truly tough to put such a kinesthetic sound into words, and the only way to know the album's true intent is through a thorough listening.