Although I was a fan of Start Breaking My Heart, it wasn’t until I heard Up In Flames that I really fell in love with Manitoba (now Caribou, natch). Seemingly making a light-year leap in terms of songwriting and musicianship, Dan Snaith went from writing fairly standard melodic IDM and dance music into creating a psych-tinged album that mixed rock music and electronic in a way that relatively few people have done.
About a year after it came out, Up In Flames was given a very special re-release on the Leaf label in the UK only that not only added six songs and thirty minutes worth of music, but two videos as well. It was all packaged inside a deluxe cardboard slipcase, and upon hearing it I wondered why it wasn’t being released in the rest of the world as well.
Well, now that litigation has magically changed Manitoba into Caribou, the first two albums from Snaith under the former name have been given the reissue treatment and the bonus disc of material formerly only available in the UK (and to those feeling like they should spend the extra to get it) are available everywhere else as well. As mentioned above, the six songs (which are actually b-sides from the “Jacknuggeted” and “Hendrix With KO” singles, along with one other track) are pretty much uniformly excellent, many of them sounding good enough to have been on the album itself.
Again a mixture of electronics, programmed and played beats, and a hint of psychedelia, the thirty minutes of music sounds like a perfect bookend to the album that they’re attached to. “Cherrybomb” is all chopped up breakbeats, woodwinds, and melodic chimes, while “Silver Splinters” is a light romp through soft alarm clock bells, analogue synth swirls, and a persistent beat. “Thistles And Felt” might be the best bonus on the release, pushing forward with plucked strings, sampled kids choirs, and a xylophone/snare march bridge that builds the track to a perfect head of steam. If you already have his Marino DVD, the videos aren’t going to mean a whole lot, but otherwise this fancy new repackage of Up In Flames is well worth the cheap sticker price.