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If critical acclaim guarantees one thing, it’s that your next baby will be born under a microscope. Better to go the way of Modest Mouse, whose Good News for People Who Love Bad News was a substantially slighter affair than predecessor The Moon & Antarctica, than that of the Stone Roses, whose overambitious Second Coming was literally roasted by one U.K. music critic. Dan Snaith, the man behind Canadian electronica act Caribou—né Manitoba—surely knows this, and he’s more or less taken the Mouse-y way out. Though the light-refracting mini-symphonies of 2003’s resolutely psychedelic Up in Flames struck a major critical chord, Snaith’s new The Milk of Human Kindness is generally much less sonically extravagant than its precursor. But there’s still a certain Day-Glo resonance between the two albums. It’s immediately evident in Kindness opener “Yeti,” a wall of sound combining churning organ, clanging tambourine, and what sounds like the best use of a pulsing alarm clock short of throwing it across the room. Whereas Flames made use of percussive barrages in the context of swirlingly nontraditional song structures, here they’re carefully placed, pummeling climaxes in a tight composition with a beginning, a middle, and an end. Snaith has credited “hip-hop and sample-based records like [DJ Shadow’s] Endtroducing” for his musical development, and “Lord Leopard” is proof of that: Its monster beat, harpsichord melody, and dark bass undercurrents could easily be the work of the turntablist born Josh Davis. But the guy has cruised down the autobahn with Can, too. On “Bees,” he uses repetition hypnotically, patiently adding and subtracting layers of sound with a surgical precision sometimes lacking on his last LP, and on the hyperkinetic “A Final Warning,” he has what amounts to an outer-space rendezvous with Neu! Elsewhere, the low-key tension of acoustic-guitar dirge “Hello Hammerheads” sets up the percussive blitz of “Brahminy Kite” and the Shadow-like warp of “Pelican Narrows”—almost as if Snaith were, y’know, putting together an actual album. Although it may not make your head spin quite as much as Flames did, Kindness is a logical progression—you might even call it the same baby, renamed and all grown up. —Chris Hagan