Do androids dream of electric jackalopes? Miike Snow, indie Swedish electro groovers and enemies of autocorrect, are masters of cybernetic soul. At their Austin City Limits Music Festival set on Sunday, they revealed the warm blood flowing under their chrome sheen.
I was expecting far more of a synth-driven show based on years of pumping “Animal” through my earbuds. But live, even the electronic sounds in songs like “Genghis Khan” have a human texture, some like guttural roars and some, specifically on “Heart of Me,” tricking the ear into hearing voices. And of course, the live instrumentation surely helped, too. Nothing warms up a cool, enigmatic song like “My Trigger” like some cymbal and strings.
Vocalist Andrew Wyatt deserves a gold star for pouring his heart into a stirring, facially invested performance that saw him pace back and forth from the mic at the front of the stage to his keys at the back. The multitasking at times looked a little erratic, but I’d never fault a man who sounded that soulful and still wanted to juggle.
It seemed like Miike Snow wanted to make clear that weren’t just a studio cabal behind the mixing board. They’re a band, and every time a song started as a tight, aloof effieciency, it inevitably careened into a thundering, percussive sternum-shaker. “Heart Is Full” in particular sprouted as a piano-driven lament and bloomed into beat-driven, arms-up-arms-down bop. “Black and Blue” likewise transformed into a noisy, runaway car.
In an elongated finish, “Animal,” still a signature, transformed like an autobot from a drawn out synth trot to an unruly beast of light, sounds and vibration. Miike Snow could have gone onstage and just pressed a few buttons, and their dance party would have been great fun. Instead, they cooked up a show made with love from real, beating hearts.