When Canadian electronic music centerpiece Dan Snaith takes the stage with his band, he is Caribou. When he steps inside the DJ booth, he is Daphni. He frequently alternates between the two, releasing music consistently (in varying formats) via both projects. In 2020, Snaith blew us away when he released Suddenly, perhaps the strongest Caribou album to date and one of the best of the whole year. A couple of years later, with the entire world returning to dancefloors, so did Snaith with his music, announcing the first Daphni album in five years, Cherry.
After a neat, lean rollout of singles, Cherry arrives today. The project runs for 48 minutes, and it is full of upbeat, bubbly, and trippy cuts for you to dance to. Staying away from any mainstream club fads, this new album feels like an extension of Snaith’s distinct, artistic imprint that he has made on dance music throughout his career.
There are certainly some similarities that overlap both of his musical outlets. The gleaming synths and deep, expressive melodies are definitely reminiscent of Caribou. Some artists may choose to completely depart from their primary project when creating different aliases (Paul Woolford vs. Special Request), but Snaith keeps things relatively close to home. He even reprises his own song “Sunny’s Theme” (from Suddenly) on the track “Cloudy.” Also, the successive interlude-y tunes “Arp Blocks” and “Falling” sound like they could have fit somewhere into Suddenly, too.
The starkest differences here between Caribou and Daphni are the precise, crispy grooves and increased tempo. This often provides a playful mood throughout the project, although there are tracks on Cherry like “Mania” and “Arp Blocks” however, where he dives deeper into his (possibly analog?) synth work, creating psychedelic moments that beckon you to lose yourself on the dancefloor. Even writing this now, I feel myself pausing, unintentionally taking a second to let the music grip my attention. That’s precisely the type of cathartic captivation that causes people to fall in love with going out to nightclubs.
Some may be quick to call the music on Cherry repetitive, but when it comes to club music, repetition can go one of two ways. On one side of the spectrum, you have music that can abuse a certain loop, beating it to death and subsequently creating an agonizing feeling of stasis. On the other side, you have music that will allow you to enter a droney state of hypnosis, as your mind is clear and your body moves along automatically. The difference may be minute when it comes to the actual production, but it means everything. It’s something that producers will obsess over, and it’s clear on Cherry that Snaith has mastered it. Subtle little changes in “Amber” prove Snaith knows exactly the right time to move us on to the next section of the track.
You can listen to Cherry, by Daphni, aka Caribou, below. Enjoy!