Lykke Li Youth Novels

Though it’s been readily available online and overseas since the beginning of the year, Lykke Li Zachrisson’s debut LP finally reaches our continent with its buzz still intact. Produced by Björn Yttling (Peter Bjorn & John), Youth Novels is rich and fanciful pop from an eclectic coquette teeming with exotic ideas. With the help of Yttling and Nils-Erik Sandberg, she’s managed to integrate everything into an album that’s as mainstream-ready as it is leftfield. Lykke’s forte is her direct and unpretentious approach to songwriting — everything flows naturally, which results in the arrangements and instrumentation being vivid and varied. She has the ability to use space as her friend and make minimal sound full. The results are slight textures utilizing the celesta or Theremin in songs like "I’m Good. I’m Gone” and "Complaint Department,” bolstering the music into orchestra-sized compositions. Where she shines brightest though is in her aptitude as a songwriter. As intricate and pretty as Youth Novels is, it’s first and foremost a brilliant pop record, the sort that you only come across every so often. With her combination of clever, if at times aloof, lyricism and unorthodox yet inviting melodies, she’s already established the promise of a lifelong career for herself with this one record. And I fully predict that her bread and butter, lead single "Little Bit,” is the song that could bring together the scenesters and the soccer moms. Oh what a world that could be. (LL/Warner)