Dressed all in yellow with gold slippers to rival Dorothy’s ruby ones, Little Dragon’s Yukimi Nagano slid into place in front of the lead mic on Perry’s stage for “Looking Glass” and, joined by her band of brothers from Sweden, offered the EDM-dominated area its biggest breath of musical fresh air all weekend.
The title track from the quirky pop band’s latest record, Ritual Union, came next, to bombastic cheers. Clearly some in the crowd were ready for a break in the electro monotony that has claimed 90 percent of this stage over the past two days. Beach balls fashioned like globes, blow-up whales, dinosaurs, birthday cakes and, of course, dragons bobbed overhead as Nagano, a force of a frontwoman, acted as spiritual leader—a vocal shaman conjuring bubbly synth pop, extended house jam sessions and all-around sunny grooves.
Standing, pounding, bouncing and bobbing to their eclectic sound, the members—save the drummer, who’s glued to a dubwise drum set—seem to all have a little skip dance that they’ve adopted as the dominant footwork. As a cow bell and drum solo morphed into an extend house jam session on “Precious,” the stage lit up with this slinky little move. At the end of the day, Little Dragon might be a little heady for many. The Ray-Ban-clad masses came to bathe in sound waves of neon beats, after all, but this band knows how to own the stage nonetheless, winning over fans one shimmering pop-dance beat at a time. Source.
“At its heart, ‘Ritual Union’ is a pop record and a very good one at that; it’s one that should cement Little Dragon’s place in the public consciousness as more than just a band for celebrities to namedrop, but as a forward thinking and exciting pop group in their own right,” comments This Is Fake DIY in a “recommended album” review posted at the beginning of this week, although Muso’s Guide was less than impressed with its only positive spin being “it’s ‘When I Go Out’ that truly saves this record” and little else.
One Thirty BPM highlighted the sheer depth of Ritual Union in their 89% strong review, “It is these less immediate, experimental moments and the drum ‘n’ bass meets funk of “Precious” that make Ritual Union more than just an enjoyable listening experience. Rather, it’s an imaginative album of contrasts loaded with subtleties and potentially alienating nuances that necessitate a long-term commitment,” and Time Out Chicago couldn’t hold themselves back from claiming the record to be possibly the best pop record of 2011 with the words, “the Moroccan motorik of “Nightlight” and the sassy strut of “Shuffle a Dream” thrill under the scrutinizing detail of headphones or blasted on club monitors. And with titles like “Brush the Heat” and “Summertearz,” the band knows it’s made the pop album of the summer. Of 2011.”
Drowned In Sound, however, aren’t too enamored with Little Dragon’s cool exterior, “An assured, polished and skilful album, but you’re left restless for other far less coy contemporaries, namely Hot Chip who know how to dapple their dainty sophistication with immediate thrills. Obviously it’s missing the point of their tight, modern-minded demi-monde, but a little bit of scale and scope never hurt anyone. Maybe that’s what collaborations are for, but here Little Dragon could do with breathing more deeply – it’s not cool to be too cool.” In contrast, the Washington Post swam in the vulnerability and lush traits of Ritual Union, “Jittery beats abound here, but introspection is present in equal measure and nowhere so much as in “Summertearz,” a haunting ballad — that is if it makes sense to call such a lovely but kinetic workout a ballad.”
The Daily Californian: “The album is not a complete letdown — it’s cohesive, consistent, and well-polished, but a bit too plain for its own good.Rather than taking advantage of the raw talent and limitless potential of Little Dragon, the album is shockingly disappointing, albeit still entertaining.”
National Post: “Here Nagano’s effortless coo plays off a melancholy bass line and spritely synths, and Little Dragon finds a place somewhere between ecstatic confusion and feet-shuffling disaffection, longing for something and scared of it at the same time.”
Glide Magazine: “The simplicity in each track’s core elements allow foreign sounds to make short cameo appearances, adding flavor to what is beyond the melodies.”
And finally …
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