Published May 09, 2014In theory, Gothenburg electro-pop act Little Dragon can construct a massive pop song. The tools have always been there, in their infectious combination of electronic, dance and R&B, and in lead singer Yukimi Nagano's velvety smooth voice as displayed on previous albums. Given the attention and success that 2011's Ritual Union earned, it seemed that producing a bright and sleek record was the obvious route, but Little Dragon redirected themselves.
Nabuma Rubberband, Little Dragon's fourth album, ditches light-footed agility for deep-rooted melancholy. Cuts like the title track and single "Klapp Klapp" still possess uptempo beats that sprint forward resolutely, able to carry a sense of solemnity further than ever before. When Nagano meditates on a breakup on "Paris," her tearful echoes soar sky-high, buoyed by remarkably deeper confidence.
Little Dragon effortlessly churn out magnificent anthems of sorrow here, ones that listeners can still dance to. In fact, Nabuma Rubberband stretches their dance scope even wider, incorporating trance and underground club beats into their already varied repository of techniques. If and when they're ready to gloss things up, Little Dragon will be ready to blend their newfound depth into stadium-ready triumphs that really count.
(Loma Vista Recordings/Because Music)