Let’s get things started by addressing the name. It’s a terrible, terrible name. Not only does it conjure up images of a so-dull-I-want-to-stab-myself-in-both-ears singer songwriter with a penchant for stupid spellings but carries boring and anonymous artwork to boot. To a non-clued up listener it seems on first impressions certainly one to avoid. However, the reality of Miike Snow is that they’re a band formed around Bloodshy and Avant, worth literally millions for their highly coveted production skills. Having worked with the holy trinity of pop in the form of Kylie, Britney and Madonna amongst others, they are held in very high regard. It should be noted too that their productions are quite unconventional by pop standards – Britney’s Toxic with its Middle Eastern strings, Kylie’s Bmore inspired Nu-di-ty, Ms Dynamite’s accordion-led It Takes More.

All this helps to place Miike Snow’s odd electronic pop within its surroundings and gives a hint at what the album offers. Incorporating these leftfield but hooky sensibilities, Miike Snow then combine them with more band-driven production. The result is a mixing pot of clever Swedish indie like The Cardigans and Peter Bjorn & John (who they’ve remixed to brilliant effect) with forward thinking pop acts like Robyn, The Filthy Dukes and La Roux.

Whilst some of the tracks are indeed straight up indie pop numbers (Animal / Burial / Song For No One) they’re littered with ludicrously catchy melodies and touches of unusual instrumentation. Rather than losing their appeal on repeated listens, they simply get better and better. The album really begins to shine when the band veer off into more electronic territory, owing to some of the cleverest programming work you’ll hear all year. Silvia begins as a piano ballad but gradually layers on more and more swirling, stuttering synths until it reaches its epic peak six minutes in. Plastic Jungle stomps along to a glam rock beat, a pulsing bassline and ropes in glitch effects and gun shots for good measure.

Miike Snow’s strongest points are it’s properly full on numbers. Not quite electro bangers, but coasting along at 125bpm, mixing in all sorts of looped pianos, samples, synth lines, cut-up stop/start dynamics and anchored by incredibly strong hooks, they really are some of the most inventive pop songs you’re likely to hear this year. In Search Of Main and Black and Blue are two shining examples of this, but the jewel in the crown has to be to utterly epic and wondrously brilliant A Horse Is Not At Home. A melancholy tune built around Balearic pianos is combined with soaring vocals, insistent beats and clever breakdowns. It showcases everything that the band are skilled at whilst delivering one of the finest songs of 2009.

Miike Snow, your one stop shop for utterly badass and thoroughly interesting pop.

Miike Snow – Silvia