I truly enjoy seeing the evolution of a band through their music. Little Dragon is a perfect example of that on their third studio full-length, Ritual Union. The Swedish quartet, fronted by singer Yukimi Nagano, is a gorgeous mix of soul, R&B, rock, funk, synth-pop and electronica. It is a very captivating sound that’s had me since the band’s first singles several years back. When the first single of the new album “Nightlight” surfaced, I immediately knew something different was on the horizon. The new record brings something that we have not seen before. This is evident in the band’s use of slightly more aggressive sounds and dynamic vocals that are a bit more intertwined from one track to the next, though they never lose the dreamy pop sensibility that has made their songs so addictive.
My first love of music comes from the dance floor, so to hear more use of electronic, uptempo and dance rhythms makes Little Dragon’s new release much more of a winner for me. That dance influence creates a very interesting mix with Negano’s vocals that sometimes dip into a quirky and folky vibe. Ritual Union definitely has a beginning, a middle and an end. This journey is what makes the album so intoxicating. The opening title piece gets the party started. Then you bob and weave on this musical roller coaster all the way until the end. The closing cut, “Seconds” rounds out the record and is reminiscent of a softer, gentler Kraftwerk that can be a lullaby to chill out and fall asleep to. I can’t wait to see Little Dragon play this new batch of tunes live. It is impossible for anyone to sit still during their shows and their concerts always take the music to the next level. – KCRW