Little Dragon move freely with the beautiful bounce of Erykah Badu’s early work, the Cinematic Orchestra’s glow and the creativity of Bj??rk, whilst still managing to maintain their own uniqueness. ‘Twice’ opens the album with haunting chords and fuzzy electrics, taking the listener to a Sigur R??s landscape guided through the icy path by Yukimi. The melancholic and dreamy mood continues through ‘No Love’, ‘Stormy Weather’ and the final song ‘Scribbled Paper’.
Adding energy to the calm ‘Constant Surprises’ has a wicked two-step style kick and is one of half a dozen tunes set to invigorate dancefloors. Two of these featured on the excellent 7inch vinyl released last year by Off The Wall, ‘Forever’ with its wonderful wobbly dubstep-tinged low-end and ‘Test’ which continues to delight me after innumerable listens. Other excellent songs for dancefloors are the charming ‘Turn Left’ and ‘Wink’, an elegant banger possessing an electronic groove comparable to Sa-Ra Creative Partners or N*E*R*D.
Yukimi’s stunning vocals are integral to the band’s sound, her voice has matured since I first heard her on Koop’s Waltz for Koop and she is able to manipulate it wonderfully varying tone and tempo. This Swedish foursome are by no means a one-artist act though, credit must be given to Fredrick K?§llgren (bass), Erik Bodin (drums) and H?•kan Wirenstrand (keyboards) who create excellent musical platforms for Yukimi’s singing to stream from. Together they have included a dozen radio-friendly songs, from the leftfield but widely accessible and to my delight they have laced their debut album with inventive, choral or instrumental sounds, creating sonics which appear like bubbles, some drifting for a while, others vanishing after just a moment.
‘Constant Surprises’ typifies the quality Little Dragon bring and is my standout track. The energising drums, leftfield electrics, surging bassline plus Yukimi’s lyricising creates a song I cannot reload enough! Through its timings more than tempo I am reminded of the classic dancefloor favourite from a decade ago, the Live Garage Version of ‘Gabrielle’ by Roy Davis Jr and Peven Everett.
Admirers of Yukimi Nagano’s singing can seek out and hear her on various Koop releases as well as the excellent album by Hird Keep Moving On on DNM. Little Dragon is out now on Peacefrog records.
Off the Wall
DNM (Dealers of Nordic Music)
Yusuke Nagano – the artwork illustrater