Little Dragon, "New Me, Same Us" (Ninja Tune)
As indicated by the title of their latest album, "New Me, Same Us," the members of Swedish four-piece Little Dragon may have found themselves on separate personal journeys, but their sound is as cohesive as ever. And the group is back to doing what they’ve consistently done — that is, capturing a familiar pop, R&B and electronic sound by way of perfectly off-kilter instrumentation.
There are the straight-forward gems. That includes first single "Hold On" — a party-starter with a disco vibe, and "Another Lover," a conventional R&B track made irresistible thanks to Yukimi Nagano’s longing vocals.
But there’s always a surprise waiting, too. And that’s what makes Little Dragon, and their latest album, so special. "Rush," for example, starts in a cold clatter of percussion, then seconds later drops into the most mellow of mood-boosting island grooves. It’s magic, complements of Håkan Wirenstarnd (keyboards), Fredrik Wallin (bass) and Erik Bodin (drums and percussion).
The details make a difference on "New Fiction," with its other-worldly chimes, combined with a head-bopping beat. Despite the title, "Are You Feeling Sad?" is a peppy anthem — light on words, and heavy on layer after layer of feel-good sounds and effects.
It’s easy to lose track of lyrics in the waves of music, but "New Me, Same Us" stays on topic — circling around the idea of change and the passage of time, a sentiment captured beautifully on "Where You Belong."
After more than two decades together, Little Dragon’s "New Me, Same Us" proves the band is right where it needs to be.