Daphni – ‘Cherry’ review: Caribou side project gives the ravers what they want


Whatever his chosen moniker, Dan Snaith is an expert in uniting dancefloors. As well as releasing five studio albums as Caribou (and not forgetting his early work as Manitoba), the 44-year-old Canadian producer and musician has found further success as Daphni, a side project that has permitted him to freely indulge in his lauded club-oriented side over the past decade. Two Daphni albums (2012’s ‘Jiaolong’ and 2017’s ‘Joli Mai’) preceded the 2019 ‘Sizzling’ EP, which, with its disco-meets-house title track (a euphoric remix of Paradise’s ‘Sizzlin Hot’), produced the song of the suitably scorching summer three years ago.

While recorded over a prolonged period, ‘Cherry’ was aptly informed by the reaction that various tracks from the record received when played at clubs. “Surprisingly, some of the more delicate, melodic tracks worked just as well in a club as the title track and [recent single] ‘Arrow’, which were the ones I thought would work immediately,” Snaith recalled when announcing ‘Cherry’. “It took seeing [DJs] playing the less obvious [tracks] and getting a big reaction from them that made me realise that they could work.”

Given the ravers’ seal of approval, ‘Cherry’ therefore contains a compelling mix of club-ready tracks and more experimental compositions from the desk of Snaith. The aforementioned ‘Arrow’ and the Detroit techno-influenced title track are to-the-point bangers, both equipped with busy, shifting beats and an array of synth chimes and giddy effects.

These two cuts come before ‘Always There’ – where noodling melodies pulse around your speakers for 100 seconds before a thumping beat finally kicks its way in to establish some sort of order – the chopped-up vocals and bubbling synths of ‘Mania’, and the irresistible house groove of ‘Mona’. All five of these tracks could, and quite possibly will, dominate dancefloors, festival fields and house parties alike for some time to come.

While Snaith could’ve easily packed ‘Cherry’ full of wall-to-wall bangers, it shouldn’t be too surprising to hear that he does switch things up. The soothing steadiness of ‘Clavicle’ and the exquisite piano loop of ‘Cloudy’ are fine examples of when his toned-down production approach works wonders, though he can be guilty of overindulging.

‘Arp Blocks’ is nothing more than a synthesiser soundcheck, while the clunky ‘Karplus’ never gets out of second gear. “As is often the case when you’re working quickly and intuitively, new pieces of equipment played a part,” Snaith has noted about the construction of ‘Cherry’. Here, on those two tracks, it sounds like the giddy joy of exploring something new clouded his judgement on the quality of what those fresh tools were producing.

There may also be some disappointment that there’s no ‘Sizzling’ 2.0 to be found here, though the sample-heavy pair of ‘Falling’ and ‘Take Two’ (which could’ve easily snuck onto Daft Punk’s ‘Homework’) do offer some sample-led disco delight from the vaults. They’re delivered, like so much of ‘Cherry’, with a spring in their step: Snaith clearly revels in his work as Daphni, and dancefloors the world over will continue to be all the better for it.


Daphni - Cherry

Label: Jiaolong
Release date: October 7, 2022

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Sam Moore