Album Reviews, Culture, Dance / Electro — September 3, 2012 at 9:23 am

Little Dragon – Ritual Union


Artist Name: Little Dragon
Title Name: Ritual Union
Label: Peacefrog Records
Reviewed by: Rory O’Maley


I know it’s a bit more band-y than the music we usually focus on but like so many others, I’ve completely fallen for the soft, bleepy charms of Little Dragon. With three studio albums since 2007 all holding relevance and a new single tantalising fans as it does the radio rounds, the Swedish four-piece aren’t just making an impact, they’re leaving a crater.

For the uninitiated, Ritual Union, the band’s most recent album is a great example of what Little Dragon is about. With an incredibly buoyant flow, the album marries drones and pads and all manner of other synthetic goodies beneath the instantly recognisable cry of front-woman Yukimi Nagano (fans of SBTRKT or Gorillaz will be no stranger to her tones). On paper one would be forgiven for expecting a poppy, bubblegum wonderland but thankfully, Little Dragon deliver anything but. The group’s sound is  refreshing and though their style is extremely recognisable, there’s plenty of variance in their tracks. Straight from the get go, songs like “Ritual Union” and “Little Man” bring an instant pulse that immediately bores into your skull and refuses to leave. The sound evolves through the album to cover different emotions and themes. As the albums progress the sombreness takes centerstage on tracks like “Crystalfilm” while the beat based penultimate tune “When I Go Out” brings an even darker soundscape reminiscent of fellow Swedes, The Knife. 

What’s best about Little Dragon is the way they carry their tunes with apparent ease. By no means uncomplicated or stock standard, Yukimi and her band glide through the layers of syncopation and stretched vocal lines as effortlessly as a knife through butter. Equally impressive on an album level is the structure, with one song leading perfectly into another where they should or drifting in where appropriate. On the whole, Ritual Union is a wonderful fusion of genres, moods and previously unchartered sounds.

Set aside an hour, grab a copy and discover what all the hype is about.