While Dan Snaith has released a slew of records under his more common moniker, Caribou, Joli Mai is only his second full-length as Daphni. Snaith did release a Fabriclive mix earlier this summer, which doesn't technically count, but then, maybe it should; save for a few remixes, all the tracks on that mix were originals, with only "Vikram" having been previously released. Releasing a mix full of live, unheard tracks and then essentially re-releasing some of that work as an LP is an odd move, but it meant that Fabriclive 93 was a kind of soft opening for Joli Mai, where one could stroll through snippets of what was to come.
Sadly, some of Fabriclive 93's best moments are nowhere to be found on this latest record; tracks like "Try," "Ten Thousand," "Nocturne" and disco banger "vs" never made the cut. The songs that Snaith deemed worthy for full release, however, are nothing to turn your nose up at. Material like the '90s-sounding, anthemic "Tin," the guttural, subsonic punch of the title track and "Face to Face," which has maybe most infectious bass-line of any Snaith recording, were positively crying out for a longer run-time, and Joli Mai offers just that.
It's also far more consistent than Daphni's debut record, Jiaolong, which fizzled after the first half. In contrast, the stylistically dynamic Joli Mai never bores; Snaith hops from retro videogame music ("Life's What You Make It") to UK garage ("The Truth") and on to marching-drum techno fused with R&B-tinged house ("Hey Drum") without skipping a beat. The consistency here comes in the form of non-stop, solid tracks; there isn't a bad recording on this whole album, which is no easy feat. (Independent)