Sound-a-likes: Delorean, Animal Collective, The Knife, The Whitest Boy Alive
Here is one-man-act Caribou latest album in one sentence. A mix of a less-captivating version of Animal Collective and Delorean, and a vocal mix of The Whitest Boy Alive and Yo La Tengo, with The Knife thrown in to dim it down and make it more boring.
Swim is part of a group of albums being released this year, where you can hear the electro-synthy creative juices of the 10s gradually seeping in. Such albums include, but are not limited to, Subiza by Delorian, Black Noise by Pantha du Prince, There Is Love in You by Four Tet, and Odd Blood by Yeasayer. This electronica/pop trend will probably go on for a few more years, and hopefully some new genre of music will arise. It's actually been going on for quite a while, and I've gotten to the point where I only really like an electronic album that has some elements of guitar, and a cool drum track. And for this, Swim almost gets the boot, but not quite. If he had stuck to the style of his previous record, Andorra, it would have been great, but alas.
I mentioned that Swim was also slightly dull. Well, there's another trend going around that to make a good electronic record, you have to give it 9 to 10 tracks, and have all the songs be 5 to 6 minutes, like this album. This makes regular songs that would normally be okay at regular length longer, and harder to get along with because they stay the same throughout. This is probably the biggest mistake about this record.
To boil it down, Swim is easy to appreciate, with its catchy beats and primitive sound (see Odessa), but it's harder to love, even though the album cover makes me want to. I think it's is a good album, and a disappointing follow up to his last album. However, this is just an opinion. If you like Delorean, The Knife, Yeasayer, Four Tet etc., then I think you'll find Swim to be a gratifying record, overall.